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1 April 2008


Ascent’s 1.5MW PV production line enters operation

Ascent Solar Technologies Inc of Littleton, CO, USA, which develops copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic materials and modules, says that it has achieved its first-quarter 2008 manufacturing milestone of initial operating capability (IOC) on its 1.5 megawatt production line.

Ascent uses a unique roll-to-roll manufacturing process to produce photovoltaic modules on large-format plastic rolls. The first set of production runs with the new processing tools resulted in better-than-expected average efficiencies of 9.5%, including a high efficiency of 10.27%. Uniformity in the manufacturing processes and tools has met company targets for the initial production trials by achieving overall thin-film uniformity of ±3% across the width of the roll and ±2% along its length.

“We now intend to focus our efforts on repeatability, production yields and continued efficiency improvements,” says Dr Prem Nath, senior VP for manufacturing.

Ascent plans to begin limited commercial production by the end of second-quarter 2008, supplying development and test modules to customers in support of joint product development efforts currently underway, and initiating product certification activities.

ICP and Ascent sign cooperative development agreement

Ascent has also entered into a definitive cooperation agreement to provide thin-firm photovoltaic material from its 1.5MW production line during 2008 and 2009 to ICP Solar Technologies Inc of Montreal, Canada , which develops and manufactures solar cells and solar cell based products and building materials.

ICP Solar will develop, test and integrate the materials into its portable power and other electronic integrated PV products.

“Our mission is to be at the technology forefront when it comes to solar consumer products and portability,” says ICP Solar CEO and chairman Sass Peress. “Placing the PV material and modules on flexible, lightweight, plastic substrate materials allows for manufacturing of similarly lightweight and flexible solar panels, which will expand our new product development opportunities.”

“ICP Solar's expertise in the portable consumer solar products industry and its international distribution network make ICP Solar an excellent partner,” says Ascent’s president and CEO Matthew Foster. “Our CIGS thin-film technology is well suited for use in portable solar power and other electronic integrated PV products,” he reckons.

Ascent appoints CFO

Ascent has appointed a chief financial officer in the form of Gary Gatchell, who brings over 20 years of financial management experience. Having spent the past several years as CFO of a public technology company, Gatchell has a strong background in public company financial reporting and internal controls. He also has experience with private and public capital funding, as well as mergers and acquisitions activity on both the buy-side and sell-side.

“As we transition to commercialization of our thin-film technologies, I believe that Gary will quickly prove to be a very valuable member of our senior management team,” says Foster.

Gatchell aims to help develop the infrastructure needed for commercialization of Ascent’s thin-film photovoltaic technology by establishing internal and external reporting and management systems.

See related items:

Ascent awarded second phase of tandem solar cell program

Ascent Solar to raise $80m in public offering

Ascent Solar and Itochu to pursue strategic relationships

Ascent to establish new world HQ and production facility

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