Thursday, October 8, 2009

Eco-nomics: Affordable, Easy Solar-Power

Dow Chemical has just announced a new product that may speed the adoption of household solar energy: solar shingles that can be installed with nails by a roofer just like (and along side of) asphalt shingles. This is a product of Dow's Solar Solutions unit and is an example of the kind of green technology that may just fuel our next big growth episode: a substantial investment that has potentially led to a low cost solution that could become widely adopted, making the American economy more efficient.

No word on pricing, longevity, etc., but the potential is enormous. The catch (you knew there had to be one) is that the thin-film photovoltaic cells used in the shingles are relatively inefficient compared to traditional solar panels. But the point is if this turns out to be as easy to adopt as choosing the color of your new shingles when you get a new roof, think of the aggregate energy savings especially in places like Phoenix and Las Vegas. Cool! (or Hot! perhaps?)

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