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US and Chinese firms in USD 275m deal to build up rooftop PV in East Asia

Solar and construction firms deal will see first CIGS fabrication facility built in China

The USD 275m partnership aims to grow rooftop PV technology in East Asia
The USD 275m partnership aims to grow rooftop PV technology in East Asia

US and Chinese firms have partnered up in a USD 275m deal to develop and install rooftop solar panels across East Asia. Colorado firm Ascent Solar Technologies, a developer of thin-film photovoltaic modules, and Chinese construction group TFG Radiant, have signed the deal to grow rooftop PV technology, which will also see manufacturing facilities being built in East Asia.

Ascent has agreed to exclusively license its technology for fabrication and distribution of flexible, lightweight copper, indium, gallium, diselenide (“CIGS”) photovoltaic modules to TFG Radiant for East Asia. The East Asia territory includes China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, and Singapore.

Inbo Lee, president and CEO of TFG Radiant, said: “We have evaluated multiple PV technologies for roof-top and other applications. After an extensive review of Ascent’s PV technology and its ease of adoption to roofing applications, we are convinced that Ascent’s ultra-light flexible modules are the best for China and East Asia, which we expect to be the largest markets in the world

“The partnership with Ascent will strengthen our leadership position in innovative metal roofing and construction, and propel us to be the market leader in building integrated, building applied and other solar applications in the East Asia markets. Needless to say, this partnership is very important and strategic to our future growth.”

TFG Radiant will build its first fabrication facility in China, with a projected direct investment of over USD 165m. This FAB is expected to have an initial annual production capacity of 100 MW.

TFG Radiant will cover consulting costs for Ascent personnel in helping to install and bring online the FAB in China. Ascent will receive partial ownership of the China FAB and royalties on all sales from that FAB. TFG Radiant also has the right to build, at its cost, multiple additional FABs for the East Asian markets and Ascent will receive partial ownership, royalties and consulting fees for all such FABs.

Amit Kumar, chairman of Ascent, said: “This partnership enables Ascent to pursue the building integrated and building applied photovoltaic markets with a partner that will finance and drive manufacturing, sales, marketing, distribution and installation.

“Strategically, this type of partnership enables us to focus on R&D, and product and plant development, while our partners focus on scale up, cost reduction and commercialisation.”

Ron Eller, president and CEO of Ascent, said: “While we continue to ramp our current Colorado FABs, this arrangement enables us to work with a key partner to build the first non-U.S. and largest CIGS FAB based on Ascent’s unique, flexible, monolithically integrated technology. TFG Radiant has the market leadership, distribution channels, installation capability and infrastructure, and established and highly motivated customer base that will accelerate the market for Ascent’s CIGS products in East Asia. TFG Radiant’s major financial and strategic commitments to this alliance are a strong endorsement of Ascent’s flexible CIGS technology.”