MIDLAND — As part of the United States Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, Dow Solar, a business unit of Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW), has been awarded a $12.8 million, 3-year grant to fund a program to dramatically reduce the cost of building integrated solar products.
The program’s goal is to ensure that solar power is a viable source for the nation’s power needs and economic growth, and accelerate widespread solar adoption.
The DOE grant will help fund a $22.4 million program that brings together leaders from across the entire solar value chain, including solar solutions providers, national laboratories, universities, leading electronics companies and national home builders to create a new solar technology that reduces total installation costs and provide reliable, low-cost solar energy to residential consumers.
“We are confident that the Department of Energy’s support of our proposal to use a holistic approach targeting all key points along the solar energy value chain will enable transformational system cost reduction for BIPV,” said Dave Parrillo, director of research and development at Dow Solar. “This program has the potential to make renewable solar energy much more cost effective and significantly increase adoption rates. “There is tremendous potential to increase the utilization of BIPV by incorporating solar functionality directly into a building material. The DOE grant provides essential funding to further reduce barriers in solar adoption by focusing on the entire value chain.”
In response to the DOE’s Funding Opportunity Announcement, “Extreme Balance of System Hardware Cost Reductions,” Dow Solar assembled an unprecedented team of partners including Alta Devices Inc., DR Horton Inc., Purdue University, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Phobos Energy, Emerson Network Power, The Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, ConSol, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, The National Roofing Contractors Association and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to achieve the objectives of the proposed project. Dow partnered with these groups to form a breakthrough approach to meeting the challenge of driving the total cost of solar energy down.
Dow Solar’s “Transformational Approach to Reducing the Total System Costs of Building Integrated Photovoltaics” program will develop new materials and designs to enable the integration of lightweight and robust BIPV shingles. Dow Solar calculates its BIPV system will significantly reduce the installed cost to meet the DOE target of $2 a watt without subsidies. The combination of enhanced affordability, aesthetics and reliability will drive consumer adoption of solar technology while also creating thousands of U.S. jobs.
Dow already makes it easier than ever to harness the power of the sun with practical systems, such as the Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles, scheduled to launch later this year. Created to address unmet market needs, these BIPV solar shingles are attractive and are easy to install and maintain, and expected to create more than 1,275 direct jobs over the next five years.
For more information on the Department of Energy, visit http://energy.gov/articles/department-energy-awards-more-145-million-advanced-solar-technologies, and for more information on Dow Solar visit www.dowsolar.com.