Is Ascent Solar Rising or Falling?

Another solar company released earnings, and again the results weren’t impressive. But this time they were mind-bogglingly bad.

Ascent Solar (Nasdaq: ASTI  ) reported second-quarter earnings yesterday and the losses keep on mounting. Revenue was just $1.0 million (yes, you read that correctly, $1 million), and the company lost $85.2 million, or $2.63 per share, nearly three times the company's market cap. Even when you back out an impairment loss, the company lost $7.2 million.

So by the look of it, Ascent Solar has to be heading the way of Evergreen Solar, who filed for bankruptcy yesterday, right? Not so fast.

TFG Radiant Group of China came in to save the company yesterday by signing a royalty and strategic partnership agreement. Ascent will immediately get a $7.36 million cash infusion by selling shares to TFG Radiant and will gain some long-term stability.

A $165 million commitment to build an East Asia FAB is part of the deal. There don't seem to be a lot of downsides for Ascent in the deal, but it is a bit of a head-scratcher for TFG Radiant. Ascent's technology is cool, but it has yet to catch on, and competitors are improving efficiency and costs every quarter. This is a long game of catch-up.

Beware of the "story"
Buying into a stock in a growing sector like solar is easy to do. You look at Ascent's website and see thin, flexible films that could be installed almost anywhere -- oh, the possibilities. But remember that customers were only willing to buy $1 million of Ascent's "innovative solution."

Right now I put Ascent and Energy Conversion Devices in the same boat. They have cool technology, and I hope they make it, but I'd rather call a coin flip than bet either of them will survive.

I am sticking to leading manufacturers like First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR  ) and SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWRA  ) , who have proven they can make solar panels profitably. Even LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK  ) and JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO  ) , two of the higher-risk Chinese manufacturers, provide more stability then Ascent Solar.

Beware getting excited about anything at Ascent Solar these days. The company is still behind competitors in a lot of respects and has yet to prove it can sell product on a large scale. Not a horse I'd like to hitch my wagon to.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns shares of SunPower and First Solar, and has sold put options in SunPower. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

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Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (4)

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  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2015, at 8:50 PM, z1bb2ad4 wrote:

    ASTI, Great IOT, Light wieght solar panels Great for space pay load restrictions. Great for cell phone and tablets , camping on appl. trail knack sack solar panel recharge phones tablets ect, boating if you get stranded you can recharge cell phone, the uses and many. I say a Rule breaker all the way. Do the home work. Ramping up a new plant in China right as I type. Great price for a great product. Ascent Solar Technologies INC. (ASTI) in a very competitive market. Great management throwing everything behind it's product. .62 cents a share 11/16/2015

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2015, at 9:22 PM, z1bb2ad4 wrote:

    Ascent Solar's EnerPlex™ Brand Launches on BestBuy.com

    By Business Wire, December 15, 2014, 06:00:00 AM EDT

    Vote up AAA

    THORNTON, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTI), a developer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art, flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules integrated into the company's EnerPlex™ series of consumer products, announced that the company will offer EnerPlex products on BestBuy.com (NASDAQ:BBY) starting today.

    EnerPlex products can now be found on BestBuy.com, here.

    "EnerPlex has uniquely positioned ourselves as a premium power solution and green alternative to the outlet; providing power for devices which all consumers use, whether it be phones, tablets, cameras, wearables or other devices," said Richard Hashim, General Manager of EnerPlex.

    EnerPlex has changed the paradigm of solar-integrated consumer electronics, providing consumers with lightweight, powerful and extremely durable charging solutions for all their portable electronics. Surfr™, a line of solar and battery integrated phone cases, allows users to charge their phone anywhere and in cases of emergency. Kickr™, a line of portable solar chargers, provides a charging solution for most USB-enabled devices, enabling power to be generated almost anywhere and in nearly every situation, perfect for emergency preparedness. With the addition of the Jump

    Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/press-release/ascent-solars-enerplex-b...

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