Ascent surges on Walmart sales deal

Ascent Solar Technologies will see its products sold online by Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, in a deal that sent shares of the US-based flexible thin-film PV manufacturer soaring.

Walmart will sell Ascent’s EnerPlex range of products, which includes solar-powered rechargers for mobile phones and other electronics, representing a “huge advantage for the growth of the EnerPlex brand”, says Ascent chief executive Victor Lee.

The announcement sent shares of Ascent up more than 22% to $1.04 on 3 October, putting it back into compliance with the Nasdaq’s minimum share price requirement of $1.

The Walmart deal is the latest in a string of recent announcements signaling newfound momentum at the Colorado-based company, whose products are based on copper, indium, selenide, gallium (CIGS) thin-film technology.

In 2011, as the falling cost of crystalline silicon PV modules began seriously damaging the prospects for CIGS and other thin-film technologies, Ascent announced a major strategic shift, pivoting away from the building-integrated PV space to focus on more specialist off-grid markets.

The company subsequently saw TFG Radiant, a consortium of Chinese and Singaporean investors, become its largest shareholder.

This summer Ascent announced plans to build a huge factory in China in partnership with the Suqian municipal authority, and it recently hired a new chief financial officer.