Dow Chemical Company's Powerhouse solar shingles convert sunlight into electricity.
The product integrates low-cost thin-film photovoltaic cells into roofing shingles. That way, the shingles can be installed just like traditional asphalt shingles would.
So it does the job of a regular asphalt shingle, but it can also generate electricity.
Each shingle has an electrical circuitry and is connected by wireless plug-style connectors. It's made with a flexible thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide PV solar cell.
It's apparently supposed to lower solar PV installation costs, mainly because the person installing it doesn't need special knowledge or extra training to do so.
It will be interesting to see if the shingles live up to all the hype. After all, it was named one of TIME magazine's best inventions in 2009.
The project was funded with $20 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. The idea was to build integrated solar arrays that could easily be installed.
The solar panels can be installed on the rooftops with standard asphalt materials. Dow is starting mass production at a plant in Midland, Michigan. The solar shingles will be available in 2011.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com