Here are answers to some of the most common questions
For further questions, please contact us.
DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle Systems are much more affordable than most homeowners realize. Over the life of the home, Solar Shingles will cost significantly less than traditional asphalt shingles. Federal tax credits of 30%, along with generous state and local utility company incentives, can reduce costs by upward of 50%–60%, resulting in attractive paybacks for residential solar. In some states, such as California, the incentives result in a cost of $31,000 for an average size POWERHOUSE roof. In fact, for every $1 more you invest in a POWERHOUSE roof, you’ll get up to $4 back in energy savings.* The specific cost and savings for any given homeowner will depend not only on where they live but also on other factors, such as the size and orientation of their home, personal cost criteria parameters and household energy offset goals. Our Authorized Dealers can provide a custom quote based on the specifics of the homeowner’s needs and local incentives. See your potential savings.
*Based on a California home assuming optimal roof orientation and pitch, free from shade. Estimated savings based on 25 years.
You can access this information by visiting dsireusa.org and selecting the state in which you live.
DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles are both a roofing solution and a solar-power-generation system, making it difficult to price solely per square or per watt, because the Solar Shingle is replacing what would otherwise have to be both composite shingles and an overlaying solar panel. The POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle System price is set by Authorized Dealers based on the size of your roof, energy goals and the orientation of the array. The price includes a custom-designed and installed array, a solar inverter and the option of an online Monitoring System.
Your payback depends on a variety of factors, including the size and orientation of your system, energy goals, incentives and energy use. On average, the DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle System will pay for itself during the first half of its intended lifetime. The system generates value and starts saving you money the first day it is connected because every kWh you create is one you do not have to pay for. Our Authorized Dealers can provide you with a custom estimate of how much your system will cost and details of your payback period. In addition, since the value of your home will increase by roughly the cost of the system, you are essentially making a profit from day one.
Absolutely. Beyond the ability to generate utility savings from day one, the DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle System will increase the value of your home by approximately the same amount as it will cost to upgrade from traditional asphalt shingles.*
*Based on study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, April 2011.
Yes. The DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle System is designed to feed electricity directly into the home’s electrical distribution service panel. The solar electricity that is being produced will first be immediately consumed by the household demand. Any excess electricity generated is fed into the utility grid. Most utility companies will allow customers to net meter their electricity. On a monthly basis, you pay for only the “net” power used and receive a credit that carries over to the next month for any excess electricity that was produced.
Any excess electricity you generate through your DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle System is credited against your utility account each month and displayed as savings on your utility bill. For solar homeowners, net metering is the actual account established with the utility company that measures the difference between the electricity your home produces and what you buy from the utility company, and subsequently determines the surplus that is credited on your utility bill.
Comparing the price of a DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle roof to a roof with added traditional “bolt-on” solar panels is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Solar panel systems are priced and sold on a per watt basis because the only function they serve is electricity generation. Conventional roofing materials are priced and sold on a per square (area) basis because the only function they serve is weather protection. POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles do both. They replace conventional roofing materials on the portion of the roof where they are installed, and they generate electric power for the home and pay for themselves throughout their service life, whereas an asphalt roof would depreciate. Total installed cost for the roofing project is the most appropriate metric for a POWERHOUSE roof. The final cost is set by the Authorized Dealer based on the size of your roof, energy goals and the orientation of the custom array. A typical residential roofing installation with conventional (non-solar) materials may cost a homeowner about $10,000. This same project with a 3kW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle System installed on a portion of the rooftop may cost the homeowner about $25,000 after federal and utility solar incentives. A POWERHOUSE roof will save you money from the day it is installed and create value for your home as it works for you.
Yes, Dow Solar offers financing. For the same price as a conventional roof, you can have a roof that makes money for you.
DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles are a totally different solution than the traditional rack-mounted PV systems leased to homeowners. With a POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle System, the homeowner chooses to own the system — which is actually an integrated part of their roof — giving all of the value associated with that investment back to the homeowner. With a leasing system, the homeowner is able to generate renewable energy with low to no upfront costs, but it’s the leasing company (not the homeowner) that captures the majority of the financial benefit. For example, in a typical $0 down lease, the homeowner enjoys an incremental monthly cash flow benefit (i.e., their solar equipment lease payment is slightly less than the electricity cost savings gained). However, the homeowner can’t take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit and any local market rebates and incentives for renewable energy equipment, nor do they capture the full benefit of the monthly savings. Who realizes these benefits? The leasing company! And in the event that the homeowner elects to move, negotiating lease terms and any obligations for modules attached to the home must be considered before the home is sold. For homeowners willing to make a larger financial investment, the financial rewards are much greater. For homeowners who include the investment cost of a POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle System in a new home mortgage or traditional line of credit, the positive cash flow generated in the first year (as a result of the 30% tax credit and local incentives) can be significant. Meanwhile, the renewable electricity generated over the 25-year life of the POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles offsets escalating future electricity costs. Finally, in the event that the homeowner elects to sell their home, customer-owned solar systems will increase the value of a home by an amount that is approximately equal to the incremental cost of upgrading from traditional asphalt shingles* — this resale value may not be available to homeowners with leased systems since they do not own the system and therefore cannot capture the system’s value. For instance, a residential Solar Shingle System solution that offsets $1,000 of annual electricity costs is expected to be valued at $20,000 more than a directly comparable home without these solar cost savings. And because of the integrated aesthetics of the POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle System, the value may be even higher.
* Based on study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, April 2011.
Because the DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle is a roofing product first, Dow Solar has partnered with hand-selected and trained Authorized Dealers to ensure the quality and integrity of the whole installation. As a result, homeowners can be assured that their roof system provides as much protection from the elements as a standard asphalt roof, and that it complies with safety codes and installation guidelines that govern rooftop solar installations. A trained electrician who accompanies the Authorized Dealer will complete the integration of the array into the home’s electrical system.
Because of their integration with asphalt shingles, DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles should be installed when all other asphalt shingles are put on a roof, either with a new home build or a reroofing project.
Yes. In addition to installations with code-complying asphalt shingles, POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles can also be installed with synthetic tile roofing products, such as DaVinci or InSpire roofing tiles.
The DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle System is designed so that the few, necessary cables from the array run under the roof through conduit. An electrician will complete the electrical installation once the wires are fed through the roof into the attic space. From the attic, the conduits and conductors can be run in the home (through the walls, preferably) to the location of the solar inverter. If it is not possible to route the conduits through the walls to the solar inverter location, the conduit should be run outside the attic and outside of the home to the solar inverter location.
Solar Shingles:How does the whole system work? +
When sunlight hits the solar cells in your custom DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle array, photons are absorbed, releasing electrons and creating an electrical current. The electricity enters your home through a wire connected to the home’s solar inverter. The solar inverter converts the direct current (DC) to a usable alternating current (AC), which is fed into the electrical distribution panel to power your home. When a Monitoring System is integrated, you can see how much energy your system is creating and your home is using as well as the savings you’re generating.
The size of your DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle array depends on how much of your current electricity bill you wish to offset and the amount of sunlight available. Your utility rate structure, building aesthetics and cost criteria also affect the choice of your array size. Each array is custom designed for the house on which it is installed. A typical home may require approximately 350 Solar Shingles to offset 40%–60% of the electric utility bill. Our Authorized Dealers will assess your home’s needs and recommend a system that meets your objectives.
On average, systems vary from 1 kW to 10 kW. System size is dependent on roof layout and available roof surface area. Each system is customized for your roof and goals.
While any amount is possible, typical residential photovoltaic arrays range in size from two to four kilowatts — which would be large enough to offset 20%–70% of an average home’s energy consumption. The specific amount of solar energy captured per day will depend on many factors, such as location, weather and orientation of the home. The dimensions of any solar array are dependent on the homeowner’s goals, cost criteria, energy consumption, and the current efficiencies and size of the home.
No. DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles are a grid-tied system, and Dow Solar does not sell or recommend using a battery backup. You receive credits for any surplus electricity through your utility company at its market rates, and your utility company acts as your storage system.
Yes. Because POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles double as both a roofing material and an electricity-producing solar device, we’ve put them through double the usual amount of product testing. Rigorous testing under simulations of hail, torrential rain, high winds and other harsh weather conditions has proven that our Solar Shingles meet building code requirements for weather-durable roofing material. The ability of the POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle to withstand hail impact damage exceeds the requirements of IEC61646/61215. They also are proven to be a safe, effective photovoltaic system. Our POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles are certified by independent labs, such as UL, and are recognized by the International Code Council (ICC) Evaluation Service as an approved building material, so you can be sure they meet or exceed the most stringent standards. Additionally, we back our products with a 20-year weatherization warranty.
Yes. POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles are designed to be walked on.
It is important to remember that DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles are both a roofing solution and a solar-power-generation system. Unlike conventional “bolt-on” solar systems, the POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle has an additional role of protecting your home like a composite roofing shingle. With the unique modular design of the Solar Shingle, homeowners have greater flexibility in determining the location of their solar array as well as the amount of energy they want to offset with the POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle System. Each system is custom-designed to fit the homeowner’s budget and energy goals and arranged to complement the style and form of the home and roofline.
Monitoring:What types of Monitoring Systems are offered? +
DOW POWERHOUSE™ Monitoring is an opt-in and customizable service. It allows homeowners to log in to the Monitoring website to view their system’s performance. Within the POWERHOUSE Monitoring site, homeowners are able to monitor instantaneous power generation; energy consumption; energy generation vs. production; historical generation; current weather and 5-day forecast; lifestyle impacts to date; and POWERHOUSE news and updates, settings and reports. Cost depends on the type of hardware and software chosen and the homeowner’s local utility company limitations. Talk with one of our Authorized Dealers to understand the best option for you.
Solar Inverter:How does the solar inverter work? +
The solar inverter converts the direct current (DC) generated by the DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles to a usable alternating current (AC), which is fed into the electrical distribution panel to power your home. The solar inverter allows multiple strings of shingles to operate independently of one another to maximize power generation from shingles that may be installed on different portions of the roof (i.e., with different orientations to the sun). Each solar inverter can handle 3,500–5,000 watts of total power.
Meter:Will I need a new meter with my DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle System? +
Yes, although meter requirements can vary. Some utility companies require houses to have a second meter to measure solar energy production, while others install a single meter on homes that turns forward as energy is being consumed, and backward as it’s being created.
All systems that are tied to the grid require an interconnection agreement between the system owner and the utility company. Our Authorized Dealers initiate this agreement and manage the meter installation with the utility company.
Warranty, Service and Maintenance:What is the warranty on the system? +
The DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle System is backed by the strength of Dow, made in the U.S.A. and has various warranties. The Solar Shingles come with a 20-year warranty, the Monitoring System hardware is warrantied for 15 years, and the solar inverter has been awarded a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty. One of the most important things about POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles is all the science that has gone into assuring it is not just a great solar product, but a great roofing product. It is also built to withstand 1¼-inch diameter hail, and wind speeds of 150 mph at 2:12 pitch, and 110- mph wind-driven rain. See just how durable it is.
The system is virtually maintenance-free. In areas where dust or debris can build up on the shingles, occasional washing with a garden hose will improve the array’s performance. The solar inverter may require maintenance or replacement after 10–15 years. In the unlikely event that a Solar Shingle is broken, an Authorized Dealer should be contacted to provide an easy replacement.
The system will constantly provide feedback to you. By simply looking at the solar inverter display, you can see if your system is producing energy. Online DOW POWERHOUSE™ Monitoring is also offered, which will show how much electricity you’re generating and the amount of homemade power being used. You can also see how much unused electricity is being sent back to the grid for credit.
As a safety precaution, grid-tied solar systems are not permitted to function during a utility grid power outage. This is to prevent power generated by your DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles from going back into your system and potentially injuring utility crews who are working on utility lines to restore power. This built-in safeguard is handled by controls in the solar inverter that automatically shut down your system in the event of a power outage.
The system requires daylight to generate electricity. At night, your solar inverter will be “offline,” and your home will use electricity from your local utility company.
The POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle System is rated Class A in accordance with UL 790 Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Roof Coverings. This certification is found in the UL Roof Coverings Category TFXX Prepared “Roof-covering Materials, Formed or Molded Metal, Fiber-cement, Plastic, or Fire-retardant-treated Wood.” Learn more about our safety, durability and performance certifications.
Yes. The ICC-ES Evaluation Report ESR-2991 is available at www.icc-es.org. Learn more about our safety, durability and performance certifications.
No special roof preparation is required to install DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles. However, the Solar Shingle System is designed to work with asphalt shingle roofs as well as other synthetic roofing products. Ideally, there should be more than 250 square feet of east-to-west-facing roof surface. Due south is best, but a southeast-to-southwest orientation also works well. The roof surface should not be broken up by roof design features such as ridges, valleys, chimneys, dormers or roof vents. The roof pitch should be a minimum of 2:12. The relatively small size of each Solar Shingle provides greater flexibility in system design. One of our Authorized Dealers will help you create a customized POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle System design that is suited to the unique attributes of your home and will provide renewable energy for years to come.
Yes. As you’d expect, solar products generally work best in areas that get the most sunlight, but you don’t have to live in California to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy. Germany is the No. 1 residential solar energy producer in the world and receives about as much sunshine as Alaska (far less than any place in the continental United States). According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. receives almost twice as much yearly sunlight as Germany, proof that most U.S. locations can make effective use of solar energy. Additionally, DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles can produce electricity in a range of weather conditions, not just on bright summer days.
Shading from trees and adjacent buildings can limit the ability of any solar product to produce energy. So shading should be as minimal as possible. A rule of thumb is to not have shading on the solar array from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Our Authorized Dealers will do a complete site analysis to determine the exact shading and impact that any trees or other sun blockers will have on your DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle System.
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