American Solar Company Invests With Chinese City

U.S.-based Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. is forging ties with local Chinese bureaucrats as it signs a new technology transfer and manufacturing deal in eastern China.

Ascent has signed an agreement to establish a joint venture with the Government of the Municipal City of Suqian in Jiangsu Province.

Under this definitive agreement, Suqian will provide cash of approximately USD32.5 million as well as five year rent-free use of approximately 331,000 square feet of factory and office space in the Suqian Economic and Industrial Development Science Park. The JV will build a 100MW factory over six years to manufacture Ascent's proprietary thin-film Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenium photovoltaic modules on flexible polyimide in addition to related consumer products.

Ascent shall purchase the factory within 5 years at the initial construction cost, and will also hold the right to purchase Suqian's ownership interest in the JV after 5 years at 1.5 times of Suqian's cash cost.

In the initial phase of the project, Ascent and Suqian will form a JV in which Suqian will inject approximately USD4.8 million in cash and have majority interest of 75%. Ascent shall inject approximately USD1.6 million in cash and hold a minority interest of 25%.

Subsequently, during 2014 Suqian will further inject the balance of the committed USD32.5 million while Ascent will contribute its proprietary technology and intellectual property, as well as certain equipment from its U.S. facility, thereby increasing its shareholdings progressively up to 80% ownership. By the first quarter of 2016, the JV is expected to operate an end-to-end manufacturing plant of 25 megawatts capacity and related consumer products.

Suqian will also provide a package of additional tax and housing incentives.

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