Las Vegas — RGS Energy, the manufacturer of Powerhouse 3.0 in-roof solar shingles, was recognized by the building industry for offering one of the best products exhibited at the 75th annual International Builders' Show.
Denver-based RGS, the registered trade name for Real Goods Solar Inc., won the Best of IBS award in the category of energy-efficient products for Powerhouse 3.0, which is the third generation of solar shingles to use technology developed by Dow Chemical Co.
RGS licensed the commercial rights for Powerhouse in October 2017 and 16 months later received an IBS award for a product that shows the best combination of design, functionality and innovation, according to judges for the National Association of Home Builders. NAHB put on IBS, which was held Feb. 21-23 in Las Vegas.
Powerhouse 3.0 shingles were recognized for their sleek look compared to mounted tilting panels and the fact they can be installed by roofing contractors along with asphalt shingles as part of remodeling jobs or new construction.
"This award further validates our game-changing Powerhouse solar shingle," RGS Energy CEO Dennis Lacey said in a Feb. 25 news release. "Powerhouse 3.0 was designed to offer our customers a better-looking solar product at an attractive price."
RGS says the cost of Powerhouse solar shingles installed along with asphalt shingles is expected to come in at about $4.15 per watt compared to $8.14 per watt installed for a full roof of solar tiles by Tesla, which is eyeing the luxury home market.
Tesla patents show the use of a couple of plastics in its system, including a polymer paste to connect the conducting busbars of one shingle to the next and polybenzimidazole for its low thermal conductivity, which traps emitted heat to cure the conductive paste.
The average price per watt for solar panels ranges from $2.67-$3.43, according to EnergySage, an online comparison-shopping marketplace for solar solutions backed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Solar panel costs for an average-size installation in the U.S. ranges from $11,214-$14,406 after solar tax credits, EnergySage says.
In November, RGS officials said they expect the average Powerhouse kits, which include shingles and an inverter, monitor, nonelectrical components and freight fees, to bring in revenue of about $19,000 each from roofers.
RGS says its supply chain partners are ready to manufacture and distribute more than 5 megawatts of Powerhouse in the first quarter and then increase shingle production throughout the year. Two U.S. injection molders — Creative Liquid Coatings Inc. in Kendallville, Ind., and Revere Plastic Systems LLC in Clyde, Ohio — are the contract manufacturers producing the shingles, which use polypropylene for the composite base structure from General Polymers Thermoplastic Materials LLC of Clarkston, Mich.
The Powerhouse solar components and wire harness connectors are being supplied by Ningbo, China-based Risen Energy Co. Ltd.
While the first two versions of Powerhouse used copper indium gallium selenide technology, the latest system uses traditional silicon solar cells, which RGS says reduces cost while increasing panel efficiency.
The patented technology was approved in January by California's Clean Energy Commission (CEC) and added to the list of eligible photovoltaic modules that comply with the state's Title 24 mandate, which will require almost all new homes, condos and apartment buildings to be equipped with solar power starting in 2020.