Ascent Solar (NASDAQ:ASTI), fresh from a large strategic partnership announcement with TFG Radiant this morning, just announced its second quarter earnings this afternoon. Ascent Solar's price jumped a dramatic 64 percent following the news. The release declared the deal to be worth approximately $450 million.
Asian conglomerate TFG Radiant signed a long-term strategic partnership including investment, a joint development agreement, and construction of a fab in East Asia. TFG Radiant Group is a joint venture of Radiant Group, a Chinese construction and real estate conglomerate, and Tertius Financial Group, a Singapore-based investment firm.
The Radiant announcement was good news for the firm.
But the earnings call was Ascent's usual low-revenue, high-loss story.
Revenue at Ascent for the first six months of 2011 was $2.21 million. The firm lost $94.8 million in the same time period and has lost a total of $174 million since October 2005. Norsk Hydro is still the largest shareholder of Ascent. Market capitalization of the firm is $39.1 million.
Ascent is in the midst of a major strategy shift -- moving from building-integrated and building-applied PV to niche markets like military and defense; off-grid charging solutions in developing countries; power for portable electronics; and products for rooftop integration on buses, trucks and trains.
The CEO of Ascent had this comment: "We believe over time markets of considerable size will exist."
Ascent's flexible CIGS-based solar modules on polymide substrates are widely viewed to have a considerably higher than industry-average capex and an uncompetitive price per watt. Conversion efficiencies are in the single digits.
In February of this year, Ascent was awaiting word on a DOE Loan Guarantee Program for its planned FAB3 production line with a nameplate capacity of 150 megawatts per year. The DOE might be a little flinchy on loan guarantees furnished to marginal firms, given the recent political spotlight on these activities. This topic was not covered during the call nor was Ascent's price per watt.
DayStar Technologies (Nasdaq: DSTI), another too-small public firm and developer of CIGS PV, also announced second quarter results today.
Net loss for the second quarter of 2011 was $1.1 million compared with a net loss of $12.2 million in the second quarter of 2010. DayStar CEO Peter Lacey said, "We continue discussions with potential strategic investors with the objective of enhancing shareholder value."