Hydro invested USD 15 million in the US solar energy company Ascent Solar on Monday. The purchase took place as Hydro exercised a call option issue, increasing the company’s ownership share from 26.5 to 35 per cent.
Hydro is the largest owner in Ascent and has subscribed to capital increases in Ascent on two previous occasions. Including the latest share purchase, Hydro has invested a total of USD 63 million in Ascent Solar.
“Ascent has developed a unique technology for the production of super thin and flexible solar cell modules that are well suited for integration in building systems. As Hydro is a major supplier of building systems in Europe, the partnership with Ascent is strategically important,” says Einar Glomnes, head of Hydro's solar business unit.
Hydro is a significant supplier of energy efficient building systems to the European market through the brands Domal, Technal and Wicona, and the company has signed an agreement with Ascent to develop new solutions of solar integrated building systems in aluminium.
Ascent is currently testing production from its pilot production line, while simultaneously building a factory for 30 MW production which will be commissioned in 2009.
In addition to its investment in Ascent, Hydro is also – with a share of 18 per cent – the largest industrial owner in NorSun, which opened a plant for the production of silicon ingots and wafers in Ardal, Norway, in June this year.
Hydro is also participating in the project HyCore, which is developing a new and energy efficient form of solar grade silicon. HyCore, is a joint venture together with Umicore of Belgium, and has its main office in Porsgrunn, Norway.