ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Sept. 22, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- United Solar, a leading global manufacturer of building-integrated and rooftop photovoltaics under its UNI-SOLAR® brand – and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq:ENER) – announced today an agreement with NJR Home Services (NJRHS), an unregulated subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, to provide two of its solar module product lines for a residential pilot program in New Jersey.
This pilot program will highlight many firsts – the most prominent being that for the first time in the U.S. marketplace, homeowners can utilize a solar product on their roof that is fully integrated into the existing asphalt shingle patterns for optimal aesthetic blending. Until now, options have been limited to glass-covered crystalline or heavy, framed panels that require footing penetrations into the roof deck or that stick up above the roofline. This pilot program marks the national launch of UNI-SOLAR's new PowerShingle™ that will be installed on family homes, as well as CertainTeed Corporation's product EnerGen™ that uses UNI-SOLAR modules.
"This pilot program is a real-world opportunity to showcase two new solar products for residential homes," said Mark Morelli, President and CEO of United Solar's parent company, Energy Conversion Devices. "Both products provide solar module aesthetics that overcome some of the largest objections to residential solar panels to date. This program will be an outstanding field test for UNI-SOLAR as we work with roofing contractors and residential end-users."
NJRHS will install UNI-SOLAR's integrated PV modules on about 30 residential homes as part of its solar lease program that helps to make clean, renewable energy more accessible to customers. Through the program, NJRHS covers the upfront installation and maintenance costs, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and then leases the solar panels to homeowners for $8.66 per kilowatt installed. The average size system for the pilot program is expected to be three-kilowatts with a lease payment price of $26 per month over a 20-year period. That monthly rate is fixed over the life of the lease. Customers will realize savings immediately following the connection of the system to the electric utility's meter, which should begin to happen by the close of the year. The average residential customer is expected to save approximately $50 per month – more than $10,000 in electric costs over the life of the lease according to NJR calculations – all while generating clean, reliable power for their home.
"NJRHS launched its solar lease program to provide customers with an opportunity to affordably access renewable energy for their homes," said Stan Kosierowski, President, NJR Home Services, NJR Plumbing Services, and NJR Clean Energy Ventures. "We understand that our customers' homes are their most important investment. With UNI-SOLAR's cutting edge solar product line, we are now able to offer them a choice when it comes to maximizing that investment. With its aesthetic appeal and lightweight features, this new integrated system will also enable us to reach more customers."
UNI-SOLAR will work with NJRHS and partner Advanced Green Technologies of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to decide which new solar product, PowerShingle or EnerGen, will go on each roof. The new roof and re-roofing market is estimated at more than four million homes per year in the U.S.
PowerShingle and EnerGen
"Far and away the consistent message we've heard from homeowners for decades is that until residential solar options are aesthetically pleasing and blend into their homes' current roofline, they will not have it installed, or at best will limit solar to the backside of their home," Morelli said. "Now with PowerShingle and CertainTeed's EnerGen, we've solved homeowners' main visual objections and they can say, 'finally, solar for the front of the home'."
Thanks to UNI-SOLAR's extremely lightweight and very flexible modules, engineers have integrated solar into the same size and shape of traditional asphalt shingles that lay just as flat. For additional upfront savings, PowerShingle can be installed in the same manner as current roofing products because the modules are glass-free and encapsulated in UV-stabilized, weather-resistant polymers that hold up against Category 3 hurricane winds, hail and other heavy impacts – while continuing to provide excellent performance and protection for the inside of the home.
The EnerGen system, powered by UNI-SOLAR®, is a lightweight design that also requires no rooftop penetrations, making it easy for roofing contractors to install while maintaining roof deck integrity. The laminates lie flush with the remainder of the traditional asphalt roofing shingles, providing a streamlined, visually-appealing appearance.
Both products allow for faster payback than other solar options due to UNI-SOLAR's outstanding low-light, high-heat and shadow-tolerant performance, combined with lower upfront installation costs.
About NJR Home Services
NJR Home Services provides home-appliance service, sales and installations to customers in Ocean, Monmouth, Morris and Middlesex counties, New Jersey. The company offers comprehensive appliance service contracts and related products and services. NJR Home Services technicians are skilled at installing, servicing and repairing natural gas furnaces, hot water heaters, electric central air conditioning equipment and stand-by generators. NJR Home Services provides responsive service seven days a week and two-hour scheduling windows. Technicians have received HVAC Excellence Certification from the nationally recognized North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NJR Home Services is a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources (NYSE:NJR). A long-standing tradition of unparalleled care and service to customers and community is the hallmark of the NJR family of companies. For more information, visit the NJR Home Services Web site at www.njrhomeservices.com.
Through the responsible development of innovative and sustainable building products, CertainTeed has helped shape the building products industry for more than 100 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm's slogan "Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed," quickly inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed is North America's leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, windows, fence, decking, railing, trim, foundations, pipe, insulation, gypsum, ceilings and access covers. A subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, the world's largest building products company, CertainTeed and its affiliates have more than 6,000 employees and more than 65 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. In 2009 and 2010, CertainTeed, which is headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., was named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a national award that recognizes environmentally responsible corporations. The group had total sales of approximately $3 billion in 2009. For more information, please visit
About Energy Conversion Devices/United Solar
Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) (Nasdaq:ENER) is a leader in building-integrated and rooftop photovoltaics. The company manufactures, sells and installs thin-film solar laminates that convert sunlight to energy using proprietary technology. ECD's UNI-SOLAR® brand products are unique because of their flexibility, light weight, ease of installation, durability, and real-world efficiency. Through its Solar Integrated Technologies business, the company also designs, manufactures and installs rooftop photovoltaic systems, which enable customers to transform unused space on the rooftop into a value-generating asset. In addition, ECD's Ovonic Materials Division is the pioneer in NiMH battery technology, and is developing low cost fuel cells, hydrogen production from bioreformation, and hydrogen storage technologies. For more information, please visit .
This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning our plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events, future net sales or performance, capital expenditures, financing needs, plans or intentions relating to expansions, business trends and other information that is not historical information. All forward-looking statements are based upon information available to us on the date of this release and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside of our control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Risks that could cause such results to differ include: our ability to maintain our customer relationships; the worldwide demand for electricity and the market for solar energy; the supply and price of components and raw materials for our products; and our customers' ability to access the capital needed to finance the purchase of our product. The risk factors identified in the ECD filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, could impact any forward-looking statements contained in this release.
CONTACT: United Solar Wendy Ventura 248-293-0440 x6206 Lovio George Communications Media Contact: Tom Lang 734-953-3500