Ascent Solar

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Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc.
Industry Photovoltaics, Solar energy
Founded 2005
Headquarters Thornton, Colorado, USA
Key people
Kong Hian Lee, CEO
Revenue IncreaseUS$7 million (2013)[1]
DecreaseUS$-6M (2013)[1]
DecreaseUS$−$6 million (2013)[1]
Total assets DecreaseUS$61.4 million (2013)[1]
Total equity DecreaseUS$50.0 million (2013)[1]
Number of employees
150 (YE 2013)[1]

Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. is a publicly traded photovoltaic (PV) company located in Thornton Colorado. Its primary product is a flexible CIGS solar cell on a plastic substrate.


Ascent Solar's thin-film solar modules are manufactured from CIGS cells using copper indium gallium (di)selenide semiconductor (CIGS), which has shown a 19.5% NREL efficiency in real-world conditions, slightly above amorphous silicon and CdTe. What makes this proprietary technology unique, however, is its relative size, weight and flexibility: Ascent's CIGS panels currently allow for 85 watts/meter, and 48 watts/kg, thereby giving them the greatest power density and weight ratio among available flexible photovoltaic products[3] by a significant margin. This allows for the efficient use of solar power in a range of new contexts, in which size or weight restrictions have previously rendered solar power impracticable: e.g., cell phones, airplanes, unmanned vehicles, consumer electronics, railways, space programs, and off-grid applications. This developing technology was selected as one of the 100 Most Innovative Technologies for 2010 by R&D Magazine,[4] and as one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2011 by Time Magazine.[5]

Market history[edit]

Ascent Solar entered the manufacturing stage for its products in 2013, in part by teaming up with a range of other companies like TFG Radiant (for integrating these materials into a range of building and construction materials), Foxconn (for a "pilot project" at the Zhengzhou Factory, which is currently manufacturing the iPhone 5),[6] and Bye Aerospace (for solar-powered unmanned aircraft).[7]

It has also launched in 2013 the Enerplex brand. EnerPlex represents the consumer side of Ascent Solar, integrating Ascent’s transformational CIGS technology into products which consumers use every day. Through EnerPlex, Ascent has pivoted into the consumer space with the aim to put solar in the hands of every consumer.

Ascent Solar Inc also established a joint venture in July 2013 with the Government of the Municipal City of Suqian in Jiangsu Province, China, to build a facility to manufacture Ascent's proprietary CIGS PV modules on flexible thin films. Suqian has agreed to provide rent-free use of the 331,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and office space that has been built for Ascent in the Suqian Economic and Industrial Development Science Park.


EnerPlex is a brand of solar and electronic consumer products launched by Ascent Solar, Inc.[8] EnerPlex products utilizes Ascent Solar’s leading edge CIGS solar technology to bring solar charging solutions to remote and unprecedented places. Unlike traditional glass backed panels, the panels integrated into all EnerPlex products are rugged, lightweight and flexible, monolithically integrated on plastic (not glass) substrate; providing limitless possibilities for innovation.

Its product line ranges from smart phone chargers to other consumer products. Its latest product is the Kickr IV, a less than 12 ounces solar charger equipped with a standard USB port that can charge a wide variety of portable electronic devices from rechargeable batteries, to tablets, phones, GPS, digital cameras, eReaders and portable music players, charging them as fast as if they were plugged into an outlet.

Corporate history[edit]

Ascent Solar was founded in 2005 by ITN Energy Systems, a company engaged in commercializing emerging energy technologies through spin-offs and joint ventures.[9] During the first few years of operation, its primary focus was to research the CIGS thin-film technology as well as researching efficient methods for manufacturing.[10][dated info]

On July 18, 2006, Ascent completed its IPO, releasing 3,000,000 shares at 5.50 USD per share.[11] In June 2007, Norsk Hydro ASA, a Norwegian based supplier of aluminum products, entered into a deal with Ascent whereby it purchased 23% of Ascent shares with the option to increase that stake to up to 35%, which it did on October 7, 2008. On September 22, 2008, Ascent's then CEO, Matthew Foster, stepped down from his position. His reason for doing so was cited as an agreement between him and the company as the company changed from research-driven to production-driven. He will remain with Ascent as a consultant for an additional year after his retirement date.[12] On March 11, 2009, Ascent Solar commenced regular production at their facility in Colorado. The company began with a one-shift production schedule.

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