Dow will stop manufacturing its Powerhouse solar shingles, saying it and would rather license the technology to someone else.
Dow will stop manufacturing its Powerhouse solar shingles, saying it and would rather license the technology to someone else.

Powerhouse Solar System shingles, first launched in 2011, combine a flexible, thin-film solar module made with copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) with roofing. The idea was that homeowners would get both electricity and weather protection in the same low-profile package.

When the shingles were first introduced, Dow CEO Andrew Liveris said they were "integral to Dow's transformation, and a key part of its strategy to invent and innovate new technologies." A new version, Powerhouse Solar System 2.0, was introduced in some markets last year. They had higher power density, were more attractive, and were easier to install, according to the company. But the party's over: Dow says it will "transition its Powerhouse platform to a licensing business model." Dow has about 130 people working in Dow Solar in Midland, Michigan and Milpitas, California. Their status is unknown.

One problem for Dow is cost. Although the shingles serve a dual purpose, the thin-film cells aren't as efficient as the more common crystalline silicon solar cells used in conventional modules, and they proved more expensive.

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