Solar Shingles Give More Options for Solar in Illinois


While I personally believe solar panels on roofs are a nice thing to see, there are many people who disagree with me. To help address their concerns, thin-film solar shingles were developed, which are less obtrusive than their rack-mounted counterparts. In the past they were not very enticing because their efficiency was significantly lower than that of traditional panels. Thanks to a breakthrough in CIGS thin-film cells though, efficiencies are now roughly on par with traditional panels.

Dow Solar’s Powerhouse solar shingles, which make use of this new technology, have now been installed on their first Illinois house. Bill Schafer and Margaret Watson have followed news about solar shingles since their invention, in hopes of one day integrating them into their Naperville home. They finally realized this dream when local Sustain-A-Building LLC became authorized to install solar shingles in the Chicago area.

Bill Schafer wanted to purchase a system for their home in time for his daughter’s wedding, as the family had planned an outdoor reception. “We first read about solar shingles in 2009 when Time named them one of the best inventions of the year,” said Bill, who has adopted many other sustainable green practices prior to solar. “We’ve been asking Dow to bring them to Illinois ever since.”

Illinois joins 18 other states in which Dow’s solar shingles are now available. Brandon Weiss, owner of Evolutionary Home Builders, established Sustain-A-Building LLC to promote green building practices and has won numerous awards for his dedication to sustainability, including recognition as the 2013 NAHB National Master Certified Green Professional of The Year. He is proud to now offer Dow Powerhouse solar shingles to environmentally conscientious homeowners who value their aesthetic design.

Dow’s solar shingles are unique in that they are certified as both a roofing and a solar product. This is one of their major benefits over traditional panels. When building a new home, or redoing one’s roof, solar shingles can be installed right alongside the normal asphalt shingles. Rack-mounted panels, on the other hand, need to be installed afterward, which takes additional labor and costs more. Whichever type of panel people may prefer, having additional competitive options is great, as it ultimately means more solar on more roofs.