Solar for Gadgets

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted August 9, 2012

Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTI) recently expressed a shift in priorities, as it moves away from the rooftop solar sector to push further into consumer electronics.

The company’s thin-film solar products will be aimed primarily at that sector; an example of such products includes the recently announced solar powered charging case for the Apple iPhone.

According to Bloomberg, Ascent’s CEO Victor Lee stated that he expects up to 80 percent of the company’s sales to come from consumer tech, citing the nearly 37 percent drop in PV panel prices over 2011.

He commented:

“We don’t want to be in that [rooftop solar market]. Our strategy is to focus on high margin, high premium applications.”

The solar panels made by Ascent tend to be thinner and lighter than polysilicon equivalents. Their flexibility also adds to their wide application prospects. Naturally, this doesn’t come without a cost; Ascent’s panels are more expensive than silicon ones. This factored into Lee’s decision to focus on the premium market rather than try to compete with the rooftop PV market, which is already saturated with cheap Chinese-manufacture panels.

Since unveiling the iPhone charger case, Ascent has seen its market value jump to double its former standing, reaching around $52 million.

Although the company will now shift its targets, it isn’t ditching rooftops altogether; Ascent will be supplying panels for a Foxconn Technology Group plant in China.

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