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Surging Demand for CIGS Solar in Japan: Global Trend to Follow?

CIGS Solar Stocks in the News: XsunX (OTCQB: XSNX), Ascent Solar (NASDAQ:ASTI), Solar Frontier subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. (TYO: 5002)

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Point Roberts, WA - June 10, 2013 (Investorideas.com newswire) Investorideas.com, an investor research portal specializing in investing ideas in leading sectors including renewable energy stocks, reports on recent news and developments in the CIGS solar sector and related solar stocks XsunX (OTCQB: XSNX), Ascent Solar (NASDAQ:ASTI) and Solar Frontier subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. (TYO: 5002).

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According to recent data from the Japanese Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA), published in an article in Solarserver.com, "Japanese PV shipments increase 62% year-over-year as imports boom". The article went on to note, "Thin film shipments are also increasing rapidly over the year, jumping from 106 MW in the first quarter to 299 MW in the fourth quarter, which ended on March 31st.

JPEA does not disaggregate thin film imports versus domestic production; however copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film maker Solar Frontier KK (Tokyo, Japan) has reported strong quarterly results and in March 2013 re-started its Miyazaki number 2 plant to increase capacity.” Solar Frontier is a 100% subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. (TYO: 5002).

Rechargenews.com, in an article on Solar Frontier said, "The domestic demand for its thin-film modules is now so high that it is struggling to meet orders -- despite running its two-year-old 900MW factory at full throttle and even restarting production at an ageing, shuttered 60MW plant nearby, an almost unprecedented move in the PV industry.

And this huge demand comes despite the fact that its copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) thin-film modules, on paper at least, remain uncompetitive with crystalline-silicon (c-Si) technology.”

XsunX, Inc. (OTCQB: XSNX) is working to commercialize a new manufacturing process to produce low cost, high efficiency thin-film Copper Indium Gallium (di) Selenide (CIGS) thin film solar cells. The company recently announced that solar expert, Dr. John R. Tuttle had joined the Company's Advisory Board to help advance its CIGS technology.

"Our current requirement was to find someone with world-class CIGS experience and someone who could also 'think outside of the box' -- or in the CIGS business -- outside of the vacuum chamber to commercialize technology. Dr. Tuttle's years of noteworthy experience at NREL elevating the science and capabilities of CIGS, and his experience transitioning innovation into operational results provides XsunX with the hands-on capabilities that we were looking for," concluded Mr. Djokovich.

Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTI), a manufacturer of consumer and off-grid products integrated with flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules (CIGS), recently announced the official entry of the EnerPlexTM brand into the Chinese consumer market through Ascent's strategic partner, Shenzhen Radiant Enterprise Co., Ltd (www.sradiant.com), which has signed a distribution agreement with D.Phone, one of China's largest retailers of mobile phones and accessories.

According to Globalsources.com, "solar cell companies in China are shifting their attention to thin-film kinds, which are not covered by the US, the EU and India anti-dumping duties. They are counting on the type's improving share, which is currently a minority to the 85 percent stake of crystalline silicon counterparts. The projected rise for the former is 30 percent by 2015, according to the Information Network.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, suppliers such as Hanergy Holding Group Ltd, Baoding Tianwei Baobian and ENN are investing in production capacity expansion.

ENN is allocating $2.2 billion for a future venture that will boost its turnout to 500MW. Its current maximum level is 70MW.

A local breakthrough in thin-film solar cells based on CIGS is expected to help accelerate the line's development. It was achieved by joint efforts of the PV research center of the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The product has 18.7 percent efficiency, which can be stretched to 19.08 percent. The latter rating is only slightly lower than the 20.3 percent world record made by Germany's ZSW Center for Solar and Hydrogen Energy Research.”

According to XsunX, Inc. (OTCQB: XSNX) CEO Tom Djokovich, this trend comes as no surprise; it's what his company has been betting on. He went on to say, "The competiveness of today's silicon industry is the product of about 40 years of iterative improvements to the manufacturing technology. CIGS is late to the game compared to silicon but is now benefiting from years of similar iterative improvements and with CIGS you have the potential to match or exceed the conversion efficiencies of silicon - at lower cost points, concluded Mr. Djokovich.

Article sources: http://www.solarserver.com/solar-magazine/solar-news/current/2013/kw23/japanese-pv-shipments-increase-62-year-over-year-as-imports-boom.html

http://www.globalsources.com/gsol/I/Solar-cell/a/9000000127860.htm

http://www.rechargenews.com/magazine/article1328409.ece

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