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Ascent Solar appoints NREL CIGS expert

Senior scientist Miguel Contreras becomes director of process engineering

CIGS firm Ascent Solar Technologies has appointed Miguel Contreras as the director of process egineering. Contreras, formerly a senior scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), was a key member of the team that achieved the world-record conversion efficiency of 20 percent with CIGS solar cells.

Throughout his career with NREL, he has produced several world-record energy conversion efficiencies and holds seven US patents in this field. He has extensive experience in all facets of solar cell and PV module fabrication, both front and back end, and has worked with nearly all types of CIGS technology, manufacturers and researchers dating back to the early 1990's.

Contreras holds an M.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ph.D. in Materials Science from the Colorado School of Mines.

"We are very fortunate to bring Miguel into the Ascent family," said Joseph Armstrong, CTO and founder of Ascent Solar. "The PV world is relatively small, and we have worked with Miguel for nearly three decades. He brings his expertise and world-record efficiency credentials in CIGS technology to Ascent, which is the first company to have brought monolithically-integrated flexible CIGS to production.

"His extensive background in deposition processes and equipment design and development further solidifies our existing team's prominence. His most recent work, on high specific power PV solutions, is aligned well with the core technologies at ASTI.

"Miguel will oversee our outstanding process engineering team, and brings his highly experienced perspective to many manufacturing challenges faced by CIGS companies. In conjunction with ongoing activities in R&D, Miguel will also implement improvements in module performance for a wide range of commercial applications, including the environments faced by military and aerospace applications. Ascent Solar now boasts well over 150 years of CIGS and related thin film PV expertise."

Contreras said: "I look forward to using my expertise to advance Ascent's products, processes and business. Ascent's product line already is quite remarkable and I'm encouraged that it is amenable to very large scale production. Lastly, I am looking forward to working with the team which includes colleagues from past years. I am very excited about the possibilities and the future with Ascent Solar."

Victor Lee, president & CEO of Ascent Solar, said: "We are pleased and excited to have Miguel joining Ascent Solar. His addition to our existing formidable technical and engineering teams comes at a perfect time as we have recently secured a significant funding commitment from a strategic investor, enabling us to renew our emphasis on process improvement and cost reduction."

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