The Powerhouse 3.0 solar shingle system, made using an injection molded polypropylene base, is closer to becoming "the first real mover" of built-in photovoltaic shingles.
Denver-based RGS Energy, which is behind the commercialization of the solar shingles first developed by Dow Chemical Co., said it has received UL LLC approval for the Powerhouse 3.0.
"The capstone of our efforts to reinvent RGS was put in place last week," RGS Energy CEO Dennis Lacey said of the Powerhouse system meeting the UL 1730 standard.
During the Nov. 7 quarterly call with investment bankers, he added: "This certification means that RGS is now a manufacturer. Further, it starts the nationwide commercial launch of Powerhouse, beginning a new era for our company."
Formally known as Real Goods Solar Inc., RGS expects the average Powerhouse kit will sell to roofers for about $19,000, including shingles, inverter, monitor, non-electrical components and freight charges. So far, about 90 roofing companies in 32 states have put in written reservations for more than $127 million of the solar shingles.
"We believe we have Powerhouse manufacturing capacity lined up to cover our current written reservations," Lacey said.
Two U.S. injection molders are ready to be RGS's contract manufacturers. Creative Liquid Coatings Inc. in Kendallville, Ind., and Revere Plastic Systems LLC in Clyde, Ohio, will produce the shingles using polypropylene for the composite base structure from General Polymers Thermoplastic Materials LLC of Clarkston, Mich.
Ningbo, China-based Risen Energy Co. Ltd. will supply the solar components and wire harness connectors.
Developed by Midland, Mich.-based Dow and licensed to RGS, Powerhouse shingles lie flush with the roof for a sleeker look than mounted tilting panels. They also can be installed with asphalt shingles by roofing contractors.
RGS says the commercialization of a visually appealing roof product that saves energy addresses an unmet need of homeowners with asphalt rooftops, which represents about 85 percent of U.S. homes.
Kit sales are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019 and expand from roofers to homebuilders and housing developers now that UL certification has been obtained.
"We may record some Powerhouse revenue in December," Lacey said. "It is simply a matter of how quickly we can manufacture solar laminate, ship it from China, assemble it in the U.S. and then distribute Powerhouse kits over the remaining 50-plus days of this year."
Venture Global Solutions, a division of Venture Logistics, will distribute Powerhouse kits to roofers and homebuilders in 50 states and Canada. VGS also will handle warehousing and final packaging.
The Powerhouse system is poised to be "the first real mover" of built-in photovoltaic shingles, according to RG officials.
"We're open for business now," Lacey said.
A potentially big competitor, Tesla Inc., announced in late October that it is pushing back mass production of the solar roof shingle it unveiled in 2016. The three-month delay to the first half of 2019 reportedly is needed to refine the design and the installation process.
Meanwhile, RGS is looking at undergoing testing with the International Electrotechnical Commission to commercialize Powerhouse 3.0 for world-wide sales.