US company acquires Flisom's thin-film solar manufacturing equipment


ETH Spinoff Flisom, which produces photovoltaic thin-film solar modules has found a buyer for its manufacturing asset: Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. Established as a US innovator in the design and manufacture of featherweight, flexible, and durable CIGS thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solutions, Ascent Solar will immediately start manufacturing from its new site in Zurich.

Founded in 2005 as a spinoff of the Laboratory of Solid State Physics of the ETH, Flisom develops innovative light-weight flexible thin film solar modules with low-cost proprietary roll-to-roll manufacturing technology and processes. Unlike the commonly used heavy and rigid silicon wafer modules, Flisom’s solar modules are especially suitable for various applications. Among them are buildings (residential, commercial, industrial) in urban and rural locations worldwide, roof-top and ground mount utility-scale installations, tents, transportation (railways and automobiles), and portable power for emergency response and space applications.

Using Flisom’s solution, researchers at Flisom’s R&D partner Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, achieved a record efficiency of 20.4% for solar cells on plastic film. Besides demonstrating positive outcomes for customers, the company raised more than USD 10 million with investors, including the TATA group, India’s largest conglomerate. More than 60 employees work at the company.

Zurich production facility gets acquired
The company’s facility in Zurich, Switzerland represented approximately 30% of Flisom AG’s thin film solar cell production capacity, while the 2020 commissioned state-of-the-art 40MW production plant in Kecskemét, Hungary accounts for approximately 70% of the production capacity.

Flisom has recently sold the Zurich production facility to Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (ASTI), together with the licensing of the associated rights to use the intellectual property. With its headquarters in Thornton, CO, Ascent Solar will commence manufacturing using its new 15MW roll-to-roll thin-film manufacturing assets in Zurich.

Ascent Solar’s acquisition of the Zurich manufacturing equipment establishes a new revenue stream in the Luxury Goods and Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) markets. With Flisom AG’s 15MW thin-film solar manufacturing assets in Zurich, ASTI will gain 300% more manufacturing capacity and an international presence as a European manufacturer. Furthermore, ASTI will service production for Flisom AG’s outstanding contracts as part of the strategic transaction. ASTI’s management will pursue extending and expanding customer contracts –as the direct counterparty – as renewals become due.

Discussions on acquiring Flison through MARNA Beteiligungen AG are underway
In 2022, MARNA Beteiligungen AG announced that its FL1 Holding GmbH had signed a purchase agreement regarding the acquisition of Flisom AG. According to its information, FL1 Holding GmbH is currently in the closing process with Flisom AG. MARNA Beteiligungen AG remains committed to the intended acquisition of the Flisom Group by way of contribution in kind with a simultaneous cash capital increase to finance the operating business, as stated in their updated press release on the acquisition.

Photo: Ascent