Residential solar’s requirements for commercial success: Dow Solar chat

Kirk Thompson, Dow Solar, focused on “bankability” at his Solar Power International commercialization session. Here, he also discusses residential solar power generation.

October 21, 2011 — Kirk Thompson, Dow Solar, focused on “bankability” at his Solar Power International commercialization session. Here, he also discusses residential solar power generation.

Thompson speaks with senior technical editor Debra Vogler at Solar Power International, wrapping up this week in Dallas, TX.
What does it take to cross over the “valley of death”? Reduce the risk, cross over to commercial products, truly understand your cost profile, and take other steps to bring solar photovoltaics into the marketplace, he says. The panel brought together speakers from the building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), and finance sectors.

At Dow Solar, the company has recently commercialized its BIPV Powerhouse Shingle. Dow Solar’s team started with a concept, developed several prototypes, and invested in reliability to make the product a success. The solar shingle is both a functional building material and an energy-harvesting element.

Residential solar is about design and functionality, Thompson says. People installing residential solar want to increase the curb appeal and asset value of their home. This makes residential solar different than utility-scale installations. And safety is paramount when humans and pets are in close quarters with the installation daily.

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