* Product launch in 2010, wider roll-out in 2011
* Sees potential revenues of $5 bln 2015, $10 bln in 2010
* Shares up 4.4 percent
(Adds executive comments on revenues, costs)
By Matt Daily
NEW YORK, Oct 5 Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N) said on
Monday it would begin selling a new rooftop shingle next year
that converts sunlight into electricity -- and could generate
$5 billion in revenue by 2015 for the company.
The new solar shingles can be integrated into rooftops with
standard asphalt shingles, Dow said, and will be introduced in
2010 before a wider roll-out in 2011.
"We're looking at this one product that could generate $5
billion in revenue by 2015 and $10 billion by 2020," Jane
Palmieri, managing director of Dow Solar Solutions, told
Reuters in an interview.
The shingle will use thin-film cells of copper indium
gallium diselenide (CIGS), a photovoltaic material that
typically is more efficient at turning sunlight into
electricity than traditional polysilicon cells.
Dow is using CIGS cells that operate at higher than 10
percent efficiency, below the efficiencies for the top
polysilicon cells -- but would cost 10 to 15 percent less on a
per watt basis.
Dow Solar Solutions said it expects "an enthusiastic
response" from roofing contractors for the new shingles, since
they require no specialized skills or knowledge of solar
systems to install.
The new product is the latest advance in "Building
Integrated Photovoltaic" (BIPV) systems, in which
power-generating systems are built directly into the
traditional materials used to construct buildings.
BIPV systems are currently limited mostly to roofing tiles,
which operate at lower efficiencies than solar panels and have
so far been too expensive to gain wide acceptance.
Dow's shingle will be about 30 to 40 percent cheaper than
current BIPV systems.
The Dow shingles can be installed in about 10 hours,
compared with 22 to 30 hours for traditional solar panels,
reducing the installation costs that make up more than 50
percent of total system prices.
The product will be rolled out in North America through
partnerships with home builders such as Lennar Corp (LEN.N) and
Pulte Homes Inc (PHM.N) before marketing is expanded, Palmieri
Dow received $20 million in funding from the U.S.
Department of Energy to help develop its BIPV products.
The company also produces fluids used in concentrated solar
systems, in which sunlight is used to generate heat that
produces steam to power a turbine.
In addition, it supplies materials used to help manufacture
photovoltaic panels and increase their efficiency.
Dow shares were up 4.4 percent at $24.67 on the New York
Stock Exchange in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Matt Daily, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Gerald