Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that, as sales of solar films decrease, the company is moving into consumer electronics, developing an array of environmentally-aware solar products that include smartphone cases and more.
Ascent's CIGS technology is being used to harness sunlight into charging the latest smartphones. The firm released its EnerPlex charger for the Samsung Galaxy S III in August 2012. This was following the successful debut of EnerPlex for the Apple iPhone 4 for which it received an initial 50,000 unit order, announced in June. Ascent started debuting its chargers in Asia earlier this month.
Enerplex charger powered by CIGS technology
The Ascent report says that, according to one company representative, somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of the company's future sales will come from consumer electronics. This change comes on the heels of dramatic reductions in the average price of rooftop solar panels, which have led to Ascent's products becoming less competitive.
Instead of these solar panels, Ascent has announced a new focus on such gadgets as a solar-charging iPhone case.
Since it announced the development of this case, Ascent's market value has more than doubled. BusinessWeek estimates that it is currently at $52 million.
The firm's move into consumer electronics, and specifically its iPhone case announcement, has won the attention of Simply Electronics, an e-commerce company that specialises in consumer electronics. Simply Electronics has released a new statement to the press, responding to the Ascent announcement and expressing its own enthusiasm over the prospect of a solar-charging iPhone case.
"We think this is exciting news for environmentally conscientious consumers, with long-term savings for those on a budget," says the Simply Electronics press statement. The company follows its endorsement with a prediction about the future of the market. "We expect many other companies to follow suit in repurposing their technologies in order to increase their bottom line, driven by such consumer demand."
Meanwhile, even as it announces a major shift into consumer electronics, Ascent Solar has made it clear that it has no intention of leaving the rooftop solar market completely, with new developments in the works for new projects in that vertical.