Tesla, Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) Looks to Solar Panels to Power the Gigafactory, Proving that Solar is Enough to Power Their Ambitions, All While Demonstrating an Untapped Investment Opportunity for Solar PV Manufacturers like Ascent Solar Technologies (OTCMKTS:ASTI)

If you find yourself flying over the Nevada desert later this year, you might look down to see one of the largest and brightest manufacturing facilities in the world, the Gigafactory. If the sheer size of this facility didn’t catch your attention, the reflection of a rooftop constructed entirely of solar panels certainly would. You wonder: What company would build something this large in the middle of nowhere?  Elon Musk and Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), of course.

What you might not realize is that you could be looking down on an unrealized investment opportunity: The self-sufficient, solar powered factories of the future, and the solar PV manufacturers that will supply them. Coming in at a whopping 70-megawatts, the planned solar installation for the roof of the Gigafactory will be seven times larger than any other rooftop installation, making it the largest in the world. Tesla ‘s (NASDAQ: TSLA) objective is to avoid the use of any kind of fossil fuel and instead power the Gigafactory using 100% sustainable solar energy. The Gigafactory is a testament to the potential of solar energy, capable of producing 35 Gigawatt-hours worth of batteries annually; enough batteries to power more than 500,000 Model 3 cars.

Some analysts believe that an undertaking of this magnitude is only possible through Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity on August 1, 2016. By using SolarCity, Tesla will be able to produce the solar installation with significant cost savings. Forward-looking investors are left to wonder: Will other manufacturing giants look to the acquisitions of solar PV manufacturers on their quest to develop self-sufficient factories and was SolarCity indeed the best acquisition choice?

One interesting prospect is Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (OTCMKTS: ASTI).
What makes ASTI ripe for acquisition is the fact that it is an asset rich company with products that span multiple industries.  ASTI owns and operates a 138,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Thornton, Colorado, where they produce patented, flexible photovoltaic (“PV”) modules for the consumer, military and aerospace markets. The facility is fully operational and Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (OTCMKTS: ASTI) has established itself in the consumer markets.

ASTI is one of Delotte’s 2016 “Fast 500” technologies companies with consumer products being sold through retailers such as Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Bestbuy (NYSE: BBY), and Cabelas (NYSE: CAB)Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (OTCMKTS: ASTI) patented photovoltaic technology is the result of two decades of research and development and was awarded R&D Magazine’s R&D 100 Award twice.

ASTI has established the company in the military and aerospace industries with The Silent Falcon Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) IKAROS solar sail. The Silent Falcon chose ASTI’s photovoltaic technology to power the UAS because of its light weight and flexibility, while the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency chose the technology for its durability and applicability for deep space missions.

Below: The IKAROS Solar Sail for Deep Space Exploration

Below: The Silent Falcon Drone

Some of the largest manufacturing companies in the world are looking to cut energy costs. It is estimated that solar energy can improve competitiveness by saving factories up to 70% in operating costs. While this is true, the only disadvantage in the majority of cases is the cost of the panels themselves. ASTI’s patented, flexible photovoltaic modules can step in and go beyond the limitations of rigid solar panels, making it more affordable for factories to generate solar power.

The future is looking bright for ASTI’s technology because of its ability to adapt to an endless number of requirements and applications.  ASTI has positioned the Company to be a leader in the way we power our next generation devices and maybe even our next generation factories.

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