MIDLAND, Mich. — As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, Dow Solar, a business unit of the Dow Chemical Co., has been awarded a $12.8 million, three-year grant to fund a program to significantly reduce the cost of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products. The program’s goal is to ensure that solar power is a viable source for the nation’s power needs, and help accelerate widespread solar adoption.

The DOE grant will help fund a $22.4 million program that brings together 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 provides 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. This program has the potential to make renewable solar energy much more cost effective and significantly increase adoption rates,” said Dave Parrillo, director of Research & Development, Dow Solar. “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 a 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 in order to achieve the objectives of the proposed project and formulate a new approach to the challenge of driving down the total cost of solar energy.

Dow Solar said its “Transformational Approach to Reducing the Total System Costs of Building Integrated Photovoltaics” program is designed to provide sustainable solutions that 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/W without subsidies. The combination of enhanced affordability, aesthetics, and reliability, said the company, will drive consumer adoption of solar technology while also creating jobs.

“I commend the DOE for their focus on driving residential energy solutions, and looking to partner with businesses who share this passion,” said Jane Palmieri, vice president, Dow Solar. “This project is a great example of an innovative approach to collaborate with partners across the entire value chain to meet national solar and clean energy goals.”

For more information, visit www.dowsolar.com.

Publication date: 09/19/2011