Ascent Solar to provide flexible solar modules for solar backpacks in Europe

Ascent Solar to provide flexible solar modules for solar backpacks in EuropeColorado-based Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTI) yesterday (March 21) said that it signed an agreement with German-based Sunload Mobile Solutions, expanding Ascent’s presence in Europe. The agreement will allow Ascent’s flexible thin-film photovoltaics to be used in Sunload’s portable solar products.

Under the agreement, Ascent’s copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) modules will be integrated into Sunload devices.

“Sunload has a line of bags, and business bags, backpacks; they also have lifestyle bags, chargers and power blankets with charge controllers. That is their product line and portfolio. They’re going to look at using our products to participate in those lines,” said Ascent spokesperson Brian Blackman.

"This relationship establishes a partnership through which we expect to market our lineup of flexible, lightweight CIGS modules for off-grid portable power. The innovative European market represents a significant opportunity for Ascent's portfolio of products." said Ascent CEO Farhad Moghadam in a press release.

It’s not Ascent's first entrance in the European market, according to Blackman.

“We’ve got distributors in Europe and are working with integrators,” he said.

The company also is establishing itself in other markets.

“We’ve got some things brewing,” Blackman said. In addition to the U.S. and Europe, the company also is expanding its presence in India and throughout Asia.

While this particular deal is for mobile devices, Blackman said that company is also looking at integrating its products into other applications like solar facades, and exterior solar shades. 

“The thing about high-power flexible panels is that they’re useful for all sorts of purposes,” Blackman said. That includes roofing materials, which the company is working on developing, but not utility-scale applications.

At this point, the company’s photovoltaics are between 10 percent and 11 percent efficient at converting sunlight to electricity, Blackman said.

“We’ve been kicking up. We were in the 8 percent ranges. We expect to steadily climb [in efficiency] year after year,” he said.

Right now the company is focused on scaling up production to 30 megawatts a year, a level that Blackman said the company should reach toward the end of the year to meet anticipated demand in a number of markets.

“A lot of markets are very small, but we anticipate them to grow very quickly. Some are very large markets, like rooftop applications,” he said.

Image courtesy of Sunload.