RGS Energy now installing Dow POWERHOUSE solar shingles

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NOTE: As of 2020, RGS Energy has filed for bankruptcy, and Dow has stopped producing POWERHOUSE shingles.

Solar is more popular than ever, but some homeowners can be concerned about the look of a solar panel installation on the roof of their home. Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), and more specifically, solar shingle and tile technology, are intended to fix that “aesthetic” problem for solar shoppers who are sitting on the fence. RGS Energy is the latest company to enter into the solar shingle business.

Solar roof shingles aren’t new technology – they’ve been around in some way since 2005. In the past several years, they’ve improved in efficiency, and a growing number of companies are looking to offer this as an alternative to traditional solar panels. There are a few companies that offer solar roofing products. CertainTeed offers solar shingles through their Apollo II line. There’s also been a lot of recent buzz around Tesla’s solar roof, and the company had its first customer installation of this technology earlier this month.

Another well-known solar shingles manufacturer is Dow Chemical Company, which discontinued their POWERHOUSE solar shingles line in summer 2016. In March 2018, RGS Energy, one of the original installation companies, announced that they have an exclusive licensing agreement to manufacture the POWERHOUSE 3.0 solar shingles.

Introducing RGS Energy to the Dow POWERHOUSE solar shingle family

RGS Energy, previously a solar installation company with over 40 years of experience,  partnered with Dow to become the exclusive licensee for POWERHOUSE 3.0, both domestically and internationally. 

This new generation of shingles is different from the previously discontinued products. They are manufactured using traditional silicon solar cells instead of copper indium gallium selenide cells (CIGS), which is often used in manufacturing thin film solar. CIGS solar cells are typically more expensive to manufacture than silicon solar cells, allowing the third generation solar shingles to be more cost-competitive than the ones previously on the market.

This is also the first time that Dow Chemical Company has exclusively partnered with an experienced solar installation company for sales and distribution of their product. As part of the agreement, RGS is also servicing warranty agreements for the older generation POWERHOUSE installations as well.

How do Dow POWERHOUSE shingles compare with solar panels or other BIPV options?

The technical specifications of POWERHOUSE 3.0 shingles are outlined in their spec sheet. The shingles are 15.6 to 17.1 percent efficient, and come with an 11-year product warranty and a 24-year performance warranty.

Historically, BIPV technology like Certainteed’s solar shingles has been less efficient and more expensive than standard silicon solar panels, though the costs have come down in recent years. The POWERHOUSE 3.0 shingles, as mentioned before, aren’t made from CIGS like previous generations, so its efficiencies are expected to be closer to that of a traditional solar panel than many BIPV technologies. In regards to pricing, solar shingles are even more competitive against traditional solar if it’s a new construction project or if the property also needs a new roof, since the solar shingle itself is used in lieu of traditional roofing materials.

Available pricing information from RGS indicates that the solar shingles will cost roughly $3.89 per watt for the average new construction project, including the cost of labor, electrical balance-of-system work (such as the inverter, monitoring, and wiring), and the equipment kit. This does not include the cost of the roofing installation, which comes out to roughly another $0.85 per watt of solar shingles installed (for a total of $4.74 per watt of solar power).

Retrofits will likely be more expensive, because of the cost of removing and replacing your existing roof. RGS promotes the affordability of the POWERHOUSE shingles when compared to a Tesla solar roof, which in comparison is estimated to cost closer to $8.14 per watt installed for homebuilders.

Outside of pricing, there are some additional differences between the POWERHOUSE shingles and other solar shingle or tile technologies.


The POWERHOUSE shingles have a similar appearance to other solar shingle options (including Certainteed’s Apollo II). They’re integrated as part of the roof and have a low profile look, and tend to be black and shiny in color (similar to all-black monocrystalline panels).

CertainTeed Apollo II solar shingles
CertainTeed Apollo II solar shingles

They are different in appearance from “solar roof” technologies from Tesla and Forward Labs. The Tesla solar tiles offer a variety of different types of tiles depending on the other roofing material (textured, smooth, tuscan and slate) to better help blend in with the roof, and Forward Labs’ roof looks like a standing seam metal roof.

tesla solar roof tiles
Tesla solar roof tiles

Warranty offering

The POWERHOUSE 3.0 solar shingles come with an 11-year product warranty for the solar cells, which is the standard product warranty of most traditional solar panels today. They also offer a 25-year warranty on the roof itself, which is in line with many roofing material warranties. The Tesla solar roof, by comparison, offers a 30-year warranty on the power production of their tiles, and a lifetime warranty of the tile itself.

Installation company

As it stands right now, Tesla is the only installer for the Tesla solar roof. RGS Energy, on the other hand, is partnering with certified dealers and roofers to provide installation services of this technology. CertainTeed doesn’t have an exclusive installation partner for their Apollo II product, but they do have a certified network of companies that install their product.

Should you choose Dow POWERHOUSE shingles?

As with any solar or home improvement project, there is no “one-type-fits-all” solution, but there are definitely properties that may be better suited for solar shingles than traditional panels.

If you are particularly concerned with aesthetics, solar shingles (POWERHOUSE 3.0 or otherwise) can be a good option to consider. If you live in a neighborhood with a restrictive homeowner’s association (HOA), they may be more amenable to the installation of BIPV than standard solar panels because of the lower-profile look. Homeowners who have new construction or are re-roofing may also want to consider solar shingles. 

That being said, traditional solar panel installations are still going to be a suitable option for most instances, and for many properties, preferred. If you have sunny but limited roof space, you’ll want to maximize the efficiency of your photovoltaic system, and high-wattage, high-efficiency monocrystalline panels will be the way to go. If you have a lot of land, you may also want to consider a ground mount rather than solar shingles – ground-mounted solar has the advantage of being positioned and tilted for optimal sun exposure to maximize your solar production.

As with any large purchase, it’s a good idea to look at multiple options and pricing before making a decision. By signing up on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, you can receive multiple quotes for turnkey solar panel installation to compare with solar shingle options.

Most of our installer network does not offer BIPV (most installation companies only offer traditional panel installation). However, if you’re interested in other solar shingle options, it’s worth noting it in your account to see if we work with a contractor that can provide you with a quote through the platform. Alternatively, if you’re looking to start your solar research with a rough estimate of costs and savings of solar installations, try EnergySage’s Solar Calculator.

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Categories: Buyer's Guide

About Kerry Thoubboron

Kerry has worked in solar for more than 6 years, starting her career as an Energy Advisor dedicated to helping customers compare their options and make well-informed solar decisions. She graduated from Boston University with a degree in Environmental Analysis and Policy. Outside of work, you can find Kerry snowboarding, watching The Office, or having passionate debates about which New England state is best (spoiler: it's Vermont).

14 thoughts on “RGS Energy now installing Dow POWERHOUSE solar shingles

  1. Angie Kelly

    I need a representative to come out and see if our shingles are working properly. We have not had any energy delivered to our grid in four months. The Duke Energy meter seems to be working.

  2. Kimberly

    It looks that Dow took back the warranties now. I copying the info on Dow website here:

    Dow announced on June 28, 2016, that it will cease manufacturing POWERHOUSE™ modules. As part of the transition to cease POWERHOUSE™ operations, we no longer provide design services for new projects.

    Dow will continue to support warranties on existing POWERHOUSE™ Systems.

    If you have questions regarding your warranty, please contact Dow.

  3. Kimberly

    RGS energy has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February 2020. Would Dow Powerhouse still has the found to provide Warranty? Or, it not, How this can be settled with costumers who invested at lease 20K to have the system take off from the roof, replace a new roof, and reimburse the cost for labor, materials, and equipment?

  4. Thomas Tachovsky

    Are your solar shingles approved for installation in North Carolina and can the installation be designed to cover the entire roof?

  5. Dale Debacker

    Had solar shingles installed 2014 by Division 7 roofing for RGS energy using Dow shingles but have note heard from them since.

  6. Mary Kritenbrink

    We installed the solar shingles through DOW, now serviced by RGSenergy . We have watched the efficiency steadily decline despite many “upgrades”. We would not recommend this product..


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