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22 June 2007


Ascent Solar shareholders approve increase in Norsk Hydro stake from 23% to 35%

At its annual general meeting, the shareholders of Ascent Solar Technologies Inc of Littleton, CO, USA, which develops flexible thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic materials and modules, approved the granting of options that will enable energy supplier Norsk Hydro of Oslo, Norway to increase its equity stake from 23% (acquired in March for $9.2m) to up to 35%.

Ascent Solar was spun off from R&D commercialization company ITN Energy Systems Inc in 2005 and raised $16.5m in an initial public offering last July. It is building a 1.5MW pilot plant in Denver, CO, USA (for initial production in early 2008), and aims to start large-scale production at a 25MW plant in 2010.

With about 33,000 staff in nearly 40 countries, Hydro is a producer of both energy (mainly offshore oil and gas, but also hydropower and wind power), and its aluminium and building systems divisions are among the world’s largest.

“We intend to develop a strong strategic partnership with Ascent Solar, and this vote of confidence by Ascent Solar’s shareholders is a critical step in that process,” says Einar Glomnes, head of Hydro’s solar division. “We believe that Ascent Solar’s unique thin-film products have the potential to serve as a key component in Hydro’s solar and building systems lines of businesses.”

The Hydro Building Systems product brands provide a match for integrating our thin film PV, says Ascent Solar’s president and CEO Matthew Foster. “Hydro and Ascent Solar have already initiated the joint development of a new building-integrated PV (BIPV) product line, and we look forward to additional opportunities as our strategic relationship matures,” he adds.

*Ascent Solar expands board of directors

Pursuant to the agreement with Norsk Hydro and the approval of shareholders, Ascent Solar is to expand its current board of directors to seven members. Dr Amit Kumar and Mr Einar Glomnes will be appointed as the two new directors.

Glomnes is head of Hydro’s solar division and will represent Hydro on the Ascent Solar Board.

Ascent Solar’s CEO and president, Matthew Foster, said: “Having Mr Glomnes represent our partner, Hydro, on our Board will greatly facilitate the development of our joint vision and growth strategies for Ascent Solar and Hydro Solar. As a small company, we are quick to action, and Hydro has been most impressive to us in demonstrating the ability to be equally responsive. Mr Glomnes’ participation on our Board will enhance our direct communication channels even further.”

Kumar is currently serving as president & CEO of Combimatrix Corporation, as position he has held since September 2001. Previously, he was VP of Life Sciences at Acacia Research Corp. From January 1999 to February 2000, Kumar was the founding president and CEO of Signature BioSciences Inc, a life science company developing technology for advanced research in genomics, proteomics and drug discovery. He holds a B.S. degree in chemistry from Occidental College, a Ph.D. in chemistry from Caltech, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University in 1993.

Foster added: “Dr Kumar brings invaluable expertise from his years of service as president & CEO of a public company and also serving on the boards of other technology companies. I look forward to Dr Kumar’s contributions as we continue to implement our growth strategies.”

See related item:

Energy producer Hydro invests in Ascent Solar for CIGS-based flexible solar cells

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