Ascent Solar announces major breakthrough in solar cell performance in space, near-space environments

Monday February 8, 2016 Tags: Ascent Solar, Victor Lee, Thornton, EnerPlex, Joseph Armstrong


THORNTON -- Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTI), a developer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art, flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules integrated into the company''s EnerPlex™ series of consumer products, today announced it achieved a major breakthrough in power-to-weight ratio for its superlight solar module, delivering over 1700 watts of power per kilogram, operating at AM0, technically known as the space environment.Ascent_Solar_logoUSE 

At this performance, Ascent''s superlight module would weigh 66% less than a comparable PV system using the highest-quality crystalline silicon and with far less design complexity, the company said, noting the elimination of two-thirds of the weight is a critical improvement for satellites, space vehicles and space stations.

By creating this superior module with the best power-to-weight ratio of any available product, Ascent said it has enabled entrance into the rapidly growing space and near space markets.

"There are several exciting aspects of this major breakthrough that make it significant for Ascent Solar," said Dr. Joseph Armstrong, co-founder and CTO of Ascent Solar Technologies. "Ascent''s proprietary technology and unique manufacturing approach is ideally suited for space and near-space applications, as we are the only producer that utilizes both flexible copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) PV and monolithic integration.

“Our flexible substrate is the lightest of any in production, and monolithic integration results in a cell layout that is ideal for high intensity sunlight found in the space environment. Additionally, our modules can dramatically reduce the part count by over 90% compared to existing space solar array construction, thereby making assembly of large solar arrays for space and near-space applications easier, more cost effective, and more reliable.

"While the design specifications for the modules were optimized for the space environment, they will be very useful for other applications such as unmanned aircraft, drones, as well as other terrestrial applications."

"This tremendous achievement will help accelerate the roll out of our space and near-space PV applications with agencies with whom we have been working,” said Victor Lee, Ascent Solar’s president and CEO. “Additionally, we believe there are several private organizations, both domestic and international, with ambitions in space and near-space markets that would be keenly interested in our superior power-to-weight ratio photovoltaics.

“This technical achievement is a testament to our strategic shift in market focus since 2012 and will continue to open up new and valuable premium market opportunities for Ascent, enabling the sale of very high margin products."

Ascent also recently announced it posted its highest recorded quarterly net revenue of $2.4M in the fourth quarter of 2015, an approximately 90% increase over third quarter of $1.25M. On a full year basis, the company reported net revenue of $6.5M, a growth of approximately 23% over 2014. 

Specifically, Ascent said its EnerPlex™ brand consumer product line continued to realize growing consumer acceptance, contributing nearly the entirety of the fourth quarter revenue and approximately 90% of the full year 2015 revenue.

The company said it expects to file its annual financial report (Form 10-K) in mid-March following completion of annual closing procedures and external audits.

"The reported revenue falls marginally short of our earlier $7.2M projection as a result of delays in multiple high-value PV projects, as well as the constraint of our balance sheet restructuring exercise, which began in September 2015 and impacted our operations," said Lee.

"We remain extremely confident in the Company''s transformation, which began in the second half of 2012 and was demonstrated by the impressive CAGR of 122% achieved since 2013, the defacto first full-year of operations in our EnerPlex division and new consumer focused strategy. We are very optimistic and certainly look forward to a much stronger 2016 and beyond, as our high-value PV market focus, especially in the military, aviation (drones), and near-space applications begin to take shape."