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7 April 2008


Hydro raises stake in Ascent to 35%

Norsk Hydro ASA of Oslo, Norway, through its subsidiary Norsk Hydro Produksjon AS, has exercised an option to purchase a further 2,341,897 shares of common stock and 1,689,905 Class B warrants in Ascent Solar Technologies Inc of Littleton, CO, USA. The option was approved by Ascent’s shareholders last June. Hydro now holds about 35% of Ascent’s common shares and about 35% of its Class B warrants. Previously, last August, Hydro had invested $10.48m to raise its stake to 23%.

Ascent is developing a unique roll-to-roll manufacturing process to manufacture flexible copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic materials and modules on large-format plastic rolls. At the end of March the firm said that it had achieved its first-quarter 2008 manufacturing milestone of initial operating capability (IOC) on its 1.5 megawatt production line. Ascent plans to begin limited commercial production by the end of second-quarter 2008.

Gross proceeds from Hydro’s follow-on investment will be about $28.4m. “We intend to use these proceeds to support expansion of Ascent Solar's production capacity,” says Ascent’s president and CEO Matthew Foster.

Hydro is one of the world’s leading suppliers of aluminum and a major supplier of aluminum-based building systems (employing about 22,000 people in more than 30 countries). “Ascent Solar's products will be a very good fit with Hydro’s continuing commitment to develop energy-efficient building systems, in which solar energy will play a central role,” says Jørgen C. Arentz Rosrup, Hydro’s executive VP for Energy.

The Hydro Building Systems division’s Brise Soleil line of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products (incorporating Ascent’s flexible solar modules) was announced in September, and designs and prototypes were unveiled to the construction industry at November’s BATIMAT international building expo in Paris, France.

Also, last December, Ascent signed a definitive cooperation agreement with Hydro that focuses on new BIPV products, commercial manufacturing and European market presence. Hydro also agreed to help Ascent by providing manufacturing and engineering expertise, as well as project management assistance.

See related items:

Ascent’s 1.5MW PV production line enters operation

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

Ascent and Hydro sign cooperation agreement

Ascent installs 1.5MW CIGS PV production line

Ascent Solar shareholders approve increase in Norsk Hydro stake from 23% to 35%

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