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Major Boost for Thin-film Solar Research and Development Funding Included in FY2021 Appropriations Package

Thornton, CO - (NewMediaWire) - March 29, 2021 - Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (OTC-PK: ASTI), a developer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art, lightweight and flexible thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solutions (“Ascent” or the “Company”), announces that the Company could receive significant support as part of H.R. 133, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, specifically potential allocation of the Department of Energy (“DOE”) Research and Development (R&D) Funding for the type of innovative, US-made PV technology that Ascent manufactures for the Space, Aerospace, Defense, Disaster Recovery, and Transportation sectors. 

The provision, known as the Energy Act of 2020, was championed by Congressman Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) in the package passed in December 2020 which included COVID relief measures as well as all 12 FY 2021 appropriations bills. The provision will ensure DOE expands research, development and demonstration (RD&D) of emerging renewable technologies like thin-films and perovskites for solar energy.

The passage of this legislation, coupled with the announcement on March 25th by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm that the Biden Administration is committed to spending $128 Million on technologies including perovskite solar cells, holds exciting potential for the future.  Ascent is collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in R&D on a “tandem junction” cell using Ascent’s commercially-produced CIGS in conjunction with a perovskite cell to create a low-cost, high-efficiency cell that could be used in a wide variety of applications.

Ascent has been working closely with Congressman Ed Perlmutter’s (CO-07) office to help reinforce the benefit that domestic Green Energy companies such as Ascent are able to provide to the State of Colorado and to the national interest in the Commercial, Federal, and Defense sectors.  Congressman Perlmutter’s leadership in the House Science, Space and Technology Sub-Committee (SS&T) and Space & Aeronautics Sub-Committee has given him a unique perspective in the value that R&D in the Renewable Energy field can provide, especially in Colorado where there is a heavy Federal and Commercial presence. 

Historically, DOE has funded approximately $300 Million annually for R&D works relating to Solar Energy.  Prior to the passage of H.R. 133, these funds were earmarked specifically for R&D works relating to crystalline-silicon based technologies (c-Si) most commonly seen in utility projects and/or Building-applied Photovoltaic (BAPV), such as “rooftop” or “solar farm” installations.  While this has helped achieve utility-scale PV at a price that is now often less expensive than that of fossil-fuels, it has neglected to provide a technological pathway for the increase in R&D for mission-critical sectors such as Space, Aerospace, Defense and Disaster Recovery, that have to rely on “off-grid” power and which have a high-degree of mobility factor. Coupled with the recent increase in telecommunications capability offered by 5G networking technology and the increasing promise of Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications, the need for off-grid and mobility power is expected to surpass that of grid-based power in the coming decade.

The language included in the Bill now provides specific call-outs for “advanced PV and thin-film devices”, “new materials…such as perovskites.”, “transformational technologies for harnessing solar energy”, “…applications such as agricultural, transportation…” and “to increasing domestic production and manufacturing of solar energy technologies”. These are areas in which Ascent fits right in and possesses a distinctive and sustainable competitive advantage.

“We are honored that the extraordinary effort Ascent and Congressman Perlmutter’s office have jointly undertaken has been validated through the inclusion of language in this historic legislation” stated Joe Kigin, CRO and SVP of Government Relations for Ascent. “So much of the focus in Solar R&D has in the past gone to the c-Si technologies, the production of which predominantly occurs offshore and leaving the US confronted with multiple risks.  With this legislative progress we will be more well-positioned to work with NASA, the US Defense of Department (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the many commercial companies that support these agencies, to achieve enhanced operational efficiency and resilience to support the critical missions that will lead to the next great era of American technological achievement.” 

“We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Perlmutter in transforming the R&D effort necessary for achieving the mission-critical operational energy needs that our lightweight, flexible CIGS PV can provide to our clients,” said Victor Lee, President and CEO of Ascent Solar. “Developing state-of-the-art and potentially disruptive PV technology capable of integrating seamlessly into Spacecraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s), rugged portable power for the front-line Warfighters and First Responders and their IoT-connected devices, separates Ascent from the competition and puts us in a very unique position to lead in the industry especially these developing premium markets.”

“This will help support the research, development and demonstration of cutting-edge solar technologies as well as support local Colorado businesses and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado,” said Congressman Perlmutter. “These technologies will help improve the efficiency, reliability and affordability of advanced energy systems across the country and help secure a cleaner energy future for our country.”

ABOUT CONGRESSMAN PERLMUTTER

Congressman Ed Perlmutter represents Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, encompassing Adams and Jefferson counties. Ed was first elected to Congress in 2006 where he has remained focused on creating policies that support the hardworking folks in the middle and expanding Colorado’s role and economic development opportunities in the aerospace industry and renewable energy sector. In the 117th Congress, Ed serves on four committees in the House: Financial Services; Science, Space and Technology; Rules; and the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Previously, Ed served in the Colorado State Senate where he garnered the reputation as a bipartisan bridge-builder and a champion of renewable energy and smart growth policies. Learn more about Congressman Perlmutter at perlmutter.house.gov. 

ABOUT ASCENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES, INC:

Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. is a developer of thin-film photovoltaic modules using flexible substrate materials that are more versatile and rugged than traditional solar panels.  Ascent Solar modules were named as one of the top 100 technologies in both 2010 and 2015 by R&D Magazine, and one of TIME Magazine's 50 best inventions for 2011. The technology described above represents the cutting edge of flexible power and can be directly integrated into consumer products and off-grid applications, as well as other aerospace applications. Ascent Solar is headquartered in Thornton, Colorado, and more information can be found at www.AscentSolar.com.

Forward-Looking Statements:

Statements in this press release that are not statements of historical or current fact constitute "forward-looking statements." Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other unknown factors that could cause the Company's actual operating results to be materially different from any historical results or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In addition to statements that explicitly describe these risks and uncertainties, readers are urged to consider statements that contain terms such as "believes," "belief," "expects," "expect," "intends," "intend," "anticipate," "anticipates," "plans," "plan," to be uncertain and forward-looking. The forward-looking statements contained herein are also subject generally to other risks and uncertainties that are described from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Investor Relations: IR@AscentSolar.com