Renewable Energy Stock Spotlight: Ascent Solar
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    Top Solar Stock – What’s behind Ascent Solar’s 2-Day, 63% Hike

    Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTI) spiked 63.5% over the last two trading days on a number of achievements that enhance its product portfolio and distribution reach. The company was traded at $5.66 on October 12, compared to $3.40 on October 10, while daily trading activity popped up to 5.3 million shares compared to the average of 0.3 million for the last three months.

    Ascent Solar manufactures thin-film copper, indium, gallium and (di)selenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) modules  on plastic substrate, which provides unprecedented flexibility and lightweight advantages. The company’s technology easily integrates into a wide range of product applications, including roofing surfaces for buildings, portable electronic products, defense applications, space solutions, vehicles and more.

    The stock price surge started with the announcement that the company received the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) “61646” certification for a line of its solar panels that are essentially waterproof, able to withstand 1,000 hours of 85% humidity at 185 degrees Fahrenheit. The IEC certification opened the “building integrated photovoltaic” (BIPV) and the “building applied photovoltaic” (BAPV) markets for the company.

    Research company Nanomarkets previously reported that BIPV applications are the fastest growing PV segment and are projected to grow by an annualized growth rate of 70% to become a $7 billion market by 2015. The market size by 2015 is expected to hit 500 MW, compared to 35 MW in 2010.

    Becoming the first high power flexible CIGS PV module manufacturer to complete the certification, Ascent Solar started to aggressively push into BIPV and BAPV applications for use in commercial, industrial and residential rooftop markets. As a result, the company announced on October 12, that Votum, a Czech Republic-based solar integrator, would begin distribution of Ascent Solar’s CIGS modules for BIPV and BAPV portable power solutions in the Czech Republic.

    Over recent months, the company announced similar distribution agreements with DisaSolar that covers France and Europe, as well as with Radiant Holding Limited that covers China. The distribution companies would target the distribution of Ascent Solar’s thin-film CIGS modules for BIPV, automotive and portable power solutions as well as for off-grid applications integrating flexible solar panels into passenger train roofs and commercial signage structures.

    For the six months ended June 30, 2010, Ascent Solar generated approximately $662,000 of revenue. Substantially all of the company revenue is from government research and development contracts. Ascent Solar’s 1.5 megawatt (MW) production line (FAB1) has been in production since 2009. The 30 MW production facility (FAB2) in Thornton, Colo., is currently being commissioned, and the company recently began to accumulate inventory and escalate production. Ascent Solar would likely begin production with an annual rated production capacity of approximately 6-8 MW in 2010 and would ramp up to full annual rated production capacity in 2011.

    The Company reported that it achieved a peak conversion efficiency of 11.7% at FAB1 and targets a 20% rate over the medium term. The manufacturing cost per watt is expected by the company to fall below $1 with the production ramp up.

    We expect to see further appreciation of Ascent Solar’s stock price due to positive industry outlook; growing interest and visibility as a result of recent certification; additional distribution agreements and opportunities; as well as increasing efficiency of CIGS modules and lower cost per watt as a result of economies of scale.

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