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General Investing

Ascent Solar Technologies (ASTI) Carves Downstream Niche with CIGS Solar Technology

February 20, 2013

Ascent Solar Technologies (ASTI) carves a niche away from the traditional rooftop solar farm and applies its flexible, light-weight CIGS technology to go downstream directly to customers with its Enerplex brand and bypass its competitors to move up the value chain, says Victor Lee, CEO of the company.

“In terms of the power-to-weight ratio, Ascent is clearly a leader. If you measure by the surface area on a per-square-meter basis, our modules produce at least 85 watts, which is among the highest in the thin-film space, except that it is not comparable to SunPower (SPWR) or First Solar (FSLR),” Lee said. “If you combine the two metrics, that put us in a really good comfortable competitive position.”

Lee says CIGS technology, besides being lightweight and flexible, has room for growth as far as technology efficiency. He also highlights the capacity of these modules to absorb sunlight on cloudy days, a feature that becomes especially important in the Northern hemisphere, as it almost doubles the length of time the panels can produce electricity.

“That makes a lot of difference with CIGS technology, and we are talking about how our modules can function even up to five to six hours. And for some countries, like the tropical countries of Southeast Asia, that makes a lot of difference. If you put it on a portable solar charging device like this, you can take it everywhere you go. You still capture the sunlight, and you still can power your cell phone. That makes our products very, very appealing,” Lee said.

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