Dow ramps up production of solar shingles for the consumer

dow-shingles-installer

Part of Dow Chemical, Dow Solar has begun production of solar shingles at a pilot plant in Midland, Michigan. Called the Powerhouse solar shingles, they are initially being sold in Colorado and will be released in twelve more states through 2012 such as Texas and California. Outfitting the average house with a roof covered in solar shingles and an energy converter box will cost consumers approximately $10,000 to $15,000. However, energy costs are sliced in half each month meaning the consumer will break even on the installation within five to twelve years. The consumer will also be able to pitch any potential homebuyers the advantage of a vastly reduced power bill when it comes time to move to another location.

solar-singles-installedDuring the initial launch, Dow Solar plans to sell the systems to builders and through a network of roofing contractors. Proving successful, the company will likely launch the solar shingles into big box retailers like Home Depot or Lowe’s Home Improvement stores. The current plant’s output is 400 shingles per day, but Dow Solar is expanding to employ 1,275 workers and increase the production output to build solar shingles for 40,000 to 50,000 homes. One Colorado home developer is already planning to outfit 50 new homes with the solar shingles in the Spring Mesa community just outside of Denver. 

The solar shingles are designed to be installed with typical asphalt shingles and can be attached with standard roofing nails at the same time as the asphalt shingles. The shingles can be laid out to compliment the style of the roof as well as be placed for optimum view of the sun. An inverter collects the direct current produced from the shingles and converts it to power that’s pumped out to the heating and cooling system as well as appliances like the refrigerator or dishwasher. 

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

A school district subsidizes a tiny home community for teachers

The lack of affordable housing in Arizona's Vail school district prompted the plan for a community of tiny homes reserved for educators. Other cities in the U.S. use the tiny abodes for homeless and economically disadvantaged people.
Emerging Tech

Science says waste beer could help us live on Mars

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a new super-insulating gel, created from beer waste, which could one day be used for building greenhouse-like habitats on Mars.
Product Review

Someday it will do 5G, but the Moto Z3 is already a great phone

Motorola’s flagship smartphone of 2018 looks exactly like its mid-range smartphone of 2018, but powered by a processor from 2017. It’s still a great-performing phone for $480, and it will be the first upgradable 5G smartphone next year.
Gaming

How to connect a Nintendo Switch controller to your PC

Nintendo's Switch controllers, including the Joy-Cons and the aptly titled Pro Controller, use Bluetooth, which makes them compatible with your PC. Here's how to start using them for PC gaming.
Emerging Tech

Regular Wi-Fi can accurately detect bombs, chemicals, and weapons in bags

Surveillance cameras and bag searches have become commonplace when it comes to security in public venues. But researchers may have found a different way to detect suspicious items: regular Wi-Fi.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Emerging Tech

Engineers have made a new type of lithium battery that won’t explode

While statistically rare, the lithium-ion batteries used in mobile devices have been known to burst into flames. Researchers from University of Michigan have been working to change that.
Emerging Tech

Genetically engineered bacteria paint microscopic masterpieces

By engineering E. coli bacteria to respond to light, scientists at the University of Rome have guided it like tiny drones toward patterns that depict Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk’s Boring Company wants to dig a tunnel to Dodger Stadium

Elon Musk's Boring Company wants to build a high-speed transportation tunnel connecting Dodger Stadium to a nearby Metro station. The system would run 150-mph passenger pods between the stadium and a terminus to the west.
Emerging Tech

Watch as a ‘lifeguard drone’ rescues a swimmer struggling at sea

These days, drones are finding a range of roles in a myriad of fields. Lifeguards, for example, are making use of the drone's ability to quickly deploy flotation devices while also offering an eye in the sky to survey the scene.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? Here are the best drones on the market right now

To help you navigate the increasingly large and ever-changing landscape of consumer UAVs, here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Experiment suggests that the best robot bosses could be jerks

Researchers have been investigating how future robot bosses can coax the most productivity out of us flesh-and-blood employees. The sad answer? Quite possibly by behaving like jerks.