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Ascent Solar Aims to Manufacture World's Largest Flexible Solar Module.

LITTLETON, Colo. -- Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc., (NASDAQ:ASTI) (BSX:AKC) and PermaCity Solar today announced that the two companies are jointly developing a series of new innovative products, including the world's largest flexible photovoltaic (PV) module.

The new product family -- tentatively named the "AST 5000 Series" -- is expected to consist of "plug-and-play" PV modules for use in the commercial and residential rooftop markets. AST 5000 series products are expected to generate between 100 Watts and 5,000 Watts of power per module, depending upon size. Ascent Solar predicts that these new modules will reduce the cost of electricity generated with today's silicon-based PV systems by a factor of two. Ascent Solar and PermaCity Solar expect that the largest of the new designs will be three to four feet wide and nearly half a football field in length and that it should provide roughly ten times the power of the largest silicon module available in the market today. If successful, Ascent Solar and PermaCity Solar anticipate that the new PV systems based upon the AST 5000 series modules would produce electricity at cost levels comparable to today's fossil fuel power plants.

By taking a total systems approach to address the cost drivers of a typical PV installation, Ascent Solar and PermaCity Solar expect to lower costs throughout the entire PV system by using large area PV module manufacturing, eliminating vast amounts of wiring, connectors, junction boxes, conduit and cabling, and by making the typical installation a literal "snap" by incorporating unique "plug-and-play" features directly into the module. Ascent Solar and PermaCity Solar anticipate that the time to install a large commercial rooftop will be reduced from weeks to days.

An analysis of the recent 600kW silicon-based system developed by PermaCity Solar on a retail warehouse facility pointed to the potential advantages in Ascent Solar's thin-film PV on plastic technology that incorporates a laser-patterned integration of cells into large area modules. The "hands-on" system level expertise of PermaCity Solar pointed out that the optimum module would approach the appropriate electrical code limits by delivering the maximum allowable power at high current and at a constant high voltage from each module. For an industrial application in the U.S., this would mean a module operating at 500-600 V generating a maximum of 10 amps. In Europe, the voltage limit is 1000V. In either case, the manufacturing flexibility inherent in the AST 5000 series modules should allow for each module to be customized to the building code limits for the particular application. The largest of the AST 5000 series roll-format modules will be designed to achieve these limits in a single module. By comparison, it would require roughly twenty large, rigid, silicon modules weighing over one ton to achieve this same level of power output.

PermaCity Solar also estimated that an additional 35% of roof area could be covered to increase the system power output by fabricating the Ascent Solar modules in a "made-to-order" fashion for each unique application. While a typical roof obstruction such as a skylight, vent pipe, HVAC component or other physical nuisance inhibits the installation of rigid, fixed-frame silicon modules because they do not fit, the planned AST 5000 PV modules would be "cut-to-fit" in the factory, and laser patterned to still maintain the constant 600 volts regardless of cut length. Ascent Solar and PermaCity Solar envision that the new modules will fit within inches of the various obstructions that presently interfere with the path of generating more power.

Ascent Solar and PermaCity Solar also envision that the AST 5000 series modules will eliminate much of the wiring, junction boxes, circuit breakers, and conduit by incorporating unique "plug-and-play" features directly into the module to make assembly a "snap." In addition, the manufacturing flexibility resulting from the use of a laser to pattern and integrate cells to form a module will permit all modules regardless of size to be at the same high voltage. This proprietary and unique capability should allow an integrator like PermaCity Solar to simply "plug-in" all the modules in parallel on the roof in the same way we plug in appliances to a constant 110V circuit in the home. The result should be a significant reduction in the number of discrete modules and more efficient "plug-and-play" installation. The PermaCity analysis of the recent 600kW silicon-based system showed that the number of discrete modules could be reduced from over 1800 silicon-based modules to roughly 100 using the planned AST 5000 series modules.

Ascent Solar President and CEO Matthew Foster stated "PermaCity Solar has provided invaluable PV system knowledge toward the development of these new product innovations. Their visionary forward looking approach and unyielding commitment to high quality, lower cost and simplification should deliver significant installed cost savings and improved financial returns to customers."

PermaCity Solar President and CEO Jonathan Port stated, "These new product innovations will change the way PV systems are designed, manufactured, and deployed for the residential and commercial rooftop markets. Our goal is to be cheaper than coal. Once PV system costs go below the current electrical grid cost of electricity at 9-12 o/kWhr, the PV industry will shed the subsidy shackles that are holding it back today and the growth will be exponential. Our lower than coal goal of 5o/kWhr appears to be within reach if the proper resources can be applied effectively to bring these new products to market in large volumes."

About PermaCity Solar:

PermaCity Corp. is a leading system developer and integrator of state-of-the-art photovoltaic systems specializing in high-quality, long-life performance and is located in Los Angeles, California. PermaCity Solar has demonstrated particular expertise in designing and installing systems atop large commercial buildings, master planned communities, vertical high-rise structures and individual homes. PermaCity's vision is the convergence of solar photovoltaic systems, software-driven advanced energy monitoring, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient building materials. PermaCity's industry-leading techniques create 100% energy-independent buildings and ultimately entire cities and communities. PermaCity believes that on-site clean energy generation can be achieved through the implementation of our solar photovoltaic systems, in a cost-effective manner.

About Ascent Solar Technologies:

Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. is a developer of state-of-the-art, thin-film photovoltaic materials and modules and is located in Littleton, Colorado. Please visit our website for additional information at

Statements in this press release that are not statements of historical or current fact constitute "forward-looking statements." Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other unknown factors that could cause the Company's actual operating results to be materially different from any historical results or from any future results expresses or implied by such forward-looking statements. In addition to statements that explicitly describe these risks and uncertainties, readers are urged to consider statements that contain terms such as "believes," "belief," "expects," "expect," "intends," "intend," "anticipate," "anticipates," "plans," "plan," to be uncertain and forward-looking. The forward-looking statements contained herein are also subject generally to other risks and uncertainties that are described from time to time in the Company's filings with Securities and Exchange Commission.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 24, 2006
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