Homebuilder D.R. Horton Becomes First-in-the-Nation to Offer New Power-Generating Roof
It happens all the time. We media types get news and product announcements littered with phrases like … “revolutionary … groundbreaking … a game changer.” Like recent seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies, the reality usually doesn’t match the hype.
Only this time, maybe it does.
After months of pre-launch publicity following a long R&D run-up, Dow Chemical officially unveiled the POWERHOUSE ™ Solar Shingle on a sun-splashed,
wind-whipped Thursday in Arvada. The setting was the D.R. Horton-built subdivision with the pleasant sounding moniker of Spring Mesa. Earlier this month, Dow announced the product would be available in targeted U.S. markets and Colorado has now become the first state to offer the company’s innovative system.
It’s a big launch for Dow. Just how big is indicated by the chemical giant dedicating a new division to the manufacturing and sale of the Solar Shingle. And it seemed as though nearly all of the new Powerhouse™ division’s key personnel were present at yesterday’s gathering, as well as the usual suspects of political and industry leaders led by Governor Hickenlooper, plus D.R. Horton marketing types.
Co-hosted by D.R. Horton, the ceremony showcased the homebuilder’s commitment to offer the POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle as a standard feature on 50 new homes in the Spring Mesa community. Each of the remaining homes in the hilly subdivision will receive a 3 kilowatt POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle roof.
“We are excited that Dow has chosen D.R. Horton’s Spring Mesa community to launch its POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle technology,” said Scott Davis, Division President, D.R. Horton – Colorado. “We believe the addition of solar technology will attract new homebuyers to Spring Mesa who will now have Dow’s innovative Solar Shingles available on one of the most scenic and beautiful communities in the Denver area.”
According to Dow Solar Vice President, Jane Palmieri, the introduction of the POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle into the Colorado market represents an exciting step towards bringing homeowners a solar solution that helps them save money and reduce their carbon footprint without compromising the aesthetics of their home.
“Colorado is the right place to introduce the POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle in, and we couldn’t be more excited to have D.R. Horton as our first participant,” Palmieri said.
“Each of us shares a mutual vision of bringing innovations to this state and creating new opportunities for homeowners to have easier and better looking choices for residential solar. Working together, there is no doubt we can drive solar adoption rates in Colorado, and continue keeping this state at the forefront of clean, solar advancements.”
WHY LAUNCH IN COLORADO?
Dow chose to make Colorado the first launch market for the Solar Shingle because the state provides the right combination of financial returns and market receptivity to solar. According to Neal Lurie, Executive Director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA), a number of factors combine to make Colorado the right market for the introduction of an important new solar technology.“Colorado is a national leader in solar energy innovation and job creation. We have the right combination of public sector support, private sector commitment, homeowner interest and an enthusiastic community of builders and installers,” Lurie said. “The launch of POWERHOUSE™ in Colorado is a significant accomplishment for the state as clean energy once again serves as a catalyst for economic development.”
WORKING WITH HOMEBUILDERS, ROOFING CONTRACTORS AND INSTALLERS
Dow claims their new product will ’transform the residential solar market by making a PV installation as easy as installing a composition shingle rooftop.’
That may not be hyperbole. True, the product fits best in new home construction markets, but any homeowner looking to replace their current roof can get hooked up with the Powerhouse™ Solar Shingle, as long as they go through an authorized dealer from a network that Dow is setting up to, in their words … “grow the solar market in Colorado one rooftop at a time.”
Expansion to other U.S. markets will be announced in the coming months.
From a construction industry standpoint, the product provides a new business opportunity for professional roofing contractors – now the only trade required on the roof for installation — and homebuilders looking for a solar solution that doesn’t interrupt the home’s attractiveness.
The DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle is actually a three-part solar roofing system package featuring an array of shingles, an inverter and an energy monitoring system. The shingles, custom designed to fit the individual homeowners’ budget and energy goals, are arranged to complement the style and form of the home and roofline.
The inverter then converts Direct Current (DC) produced from the shingles into Alternating Current (AC), which is then fed to the home’s appliances, or back to the power grid. Finally, a real-time monitoring system provides readouts to homeowners to assess energy usage, production and the amount of excess power flowing back to the grid.
Dow views the integrated POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle as the answer for new home buyers who want to go solar, but dislike the aesthetic of bulky, rack-mounted systems. It will be produced at the company’s small-scale manufacturing facility in Midland, Michigan. Dow has also begun construction of a new, large-scale facility at Dow’s Midland, Michigan Operations site, which the Company expects will create up to 1,275 jobs between now and 2015.
How does the POWERHOUSE ™ stack up from a technical standpoint? It’s got the safety backing of Underwriters Laboratories (UL); backed by Dow and a warranty; and can withstand rain, hail and wind. Visit www.DowSolar.com to find more information about the DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles, or to sign up for updates and e-newsletters.
Colorado Energy News readers are welcome to tour Spring Mesa this weekend, Saturday starting at 10:00 a.m., and on Sunda, beginning at 12:00 p.m. For more information, please visit www.drhorton.com.