Dow Chemical dropped out of the solar shingle business three years ago, according to Green Building Advisor’s Scott Gibson. Now, RGS Energy, a California-based solar company, holds the license to produce an updated version of Dow’s Powerhouse shingle and is marketing them in nine states, including Colorado and California. Gibson has more on the green product below.

The low-profile shingles — called building-integrated PV, or BIPV— are applied directly to the roof deck and can be mixed with asphalt shingles, an installation designed to be less obtrusive than conventional racked solar panels. Dow based its design on thin-film copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) cells, but the new “3.0” version of the Powerhouse uses silicon cells, according to the company’s website.

Earlier this month, the shingles were named the best energy efficient product at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, one of the largest building materials trade shows in the country.

Dow faced an uphill battle in its efforts to sell the Powerhouse. The thin-film cells that Dow used weren’t as efficient at generating electricity as silicon-based cells, and the shingles cost more on a per-watt basis than conventional solar panels. Those two problems may have done in Dow’s solar shingle gambit, and RGS could be banking on the greater efficiency of silicon cells to help it get a toehold in the market.

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