I remember many years ago, there was a lot of emphasis and news around solar shingles. Why? Because 3 or 4 years ago many people thought that the look of solar photovoltaic modules would hinder adoption and the whole industry would suffer.
Dow Chemical has now reported that they’ve finally released solar shingles. They were invented in 2009, but they’re now just coming to market after going through testing and certification.
So what does this mean for the industry? Does it even matter?
While it’s impossible to predict their success, I think it depends on a number of factors:
1 – Cost. What is the cost per nominal wattage?
This will be the first and arguably most important question about the solar shingles. Dow claims they are ‘cost competitive’. I’ll believe it when I see the cost sheet from a distributor.
However, it is possible that they might be able to charge a premium for a customer that prefers their aesthetics to traditional modules.
To Dow’s point, we must remember to look past hard equipment costs and also consider installation time. Dow claims the installation time is cut in half. This could be useful for large commercial pitched roofs where labor costs are high due to prevailing wage requirements.
It also will most likely be true for new construction, but will not apply to existing homes with new-ish roofs.