Ascent boosts production with acquisition of 15 MW Swiss thin-film producer


Ascent Solar Technologies, a Colorado-based manufacturer of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar modules, announced the closing of its acquisition of Flisom AG, a Swiss manufacturer of thin-film solar modules with 15 MW of production capacity.

Ascent will continue to be headquartered in Thornton, Colo. where it has a research and development center and 5 MW nameplate production facility. It will commence manufacturing  immediately from its new roll-to-roll thin-film manufacturing facilities in Zurich, Switzerland.  As a result of the deal’s closing, Ascent will triple its production capacity from its 5 MW of existing nameplate capacity production.

The transaction reflects a significant milestone in Ascent’s turnaround plan by delivering new committed contract revenue, increased production capacity and an international foothold as European and Asian governments adopt legislation to increase solar energy production and domestic manufacturing capabilities, a company statement said.

The Flisom acquisition is expected to provide Ascent with a new revenue stream in the luxury goods and building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) markets. The company intends to use its new European presence to provide in-region support for Euro Zone driven net zero initiatives and to support new demand for thin-film arrays in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Modern equipment of the Swiss facility supports Ascent’s focus on operational efficiency and optimization. The Zurich facility is capable of roll-to-roll thin-film outputs up to 3.2 feet in width and 3,200 feet in length.

Ascent’s management anticipates the EBITDA-positive operations of the Swiss assets as early as the second half of 2023 providing a boost to the company’s bottom line earnings profile over the year ahead.

“Since coming aboard the company in September 2022, my priority has been to execute an aggressive turnaround plan and to re-establish Ascent as the leading provider of high-performance, flexible thin-film solar modules for use in scenarios where traditional rigid panels don’t work,” said Jeffrey Max, chief executive officer of Ascent.

“We are seeing a global push for more solar power production and we have identified unmet demand for alternatives to traditional rigid panels that can be used in scenarios where land, form-factor, or weight constraints exist, particularly in Europe and Asia,” Max added.

On December 20, 2022, Ascent raised $50 million in equity from two institutional investors, with Bryan Garnier & Co. acting as financial advisor on the capital raise.

Ascent’s modules have been deployed on space missions, airborne vehicles, agrivoltaic installations, industrial/commercial construction and consumer goods applications.

Founded in 2005 and a public company since 2006, Ascent manufactures its thin-film PV product using a process called monolithic integration (MI). MI enables modules and arrays to have a specific footprint and power output with custom options for voltage and current. The architecture of the module allows it to continue to operate if damaged and in cloudy or overcast conditions, the company said.

The company’s shares traded at $0.37 per share today, down from $2.42 per share on December 19, one day before it disclosed its equity raise.

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