Taking a page from Apple, and more recently Sony and Microsoft, Ascent Solar is opening up retail locations for its PV products. However, the company, which makes thin-film photovoltaics, isn’t trying to sell home PV arrays. Instead, Ascent Solar is selling solar power for your pocket and your back.
The company is selling its consumer line of mobile friendly, flexible CIGS (Copper indium gallium selenide) products at the kiosks. These include the Surfr PV-charging smartphone cases with batteries, as well as its mobile Kickr PV charger and PV-powered Packr backpack.
Ascent isn’t the only company developing mobile solar applications. Earlier this year we saw the introduction of earl, a solar-powered tablet designed with solar integrated into its back panel, as well as the OnBeat Solar Headphones. Other companies like Power Traveler and Goal Zero have been offering PV-chargers and batteries for years. Yet other companies are looking to incorporate see-through PV into the screens of mobile devices. But Ascent Solar may be the first solar company that’s started opening up retail outlets for its products rather than selling them to other stores.
The company’s direct marketing approach will help it get solar power into people’s hands and help them rethink what solar can be and do. In doing so, it could be a potential gateway for people choosing to put solar generation on their homes and businesses as well.
The Colorado-based company launched three new retail kiosks in California where it will sell its EnerPlex line of PV products. The new kiosks are at The Grove in Los Angeles, Westfield Santa Anita and the Irvine Spectrum Center.
"Southern California was strategically selected as the next step in our kiosk expansion strategy due to its dense and affluent population,” explained Jeramie Skogg, Ascent's manager of Retail Channel Development. “Expanding our footprint in time for the beginning of the holiday shopping season not only will boost our brand recognition in one of the most densely populated areas of the United States but will provide an extremely advantageous selling opportunity during the busiest shopping season of the year.”
Ascent Solar launched its first kiosks in Colorado in May 2013 at the Denver International Airport (Concourse B), along with multiple locations in Denver, Boulder, Aurora and at Red Rocks Ampitheater. The company plans to add more locations before the end of the year as well under s previously announced partnership with MarketStar.
"Our first three kiosks in Colorado have proven to be an effective outlet for our EnerPlex brand of portable charging solutions,” Said Ascent CEO Victor Lee. “With MarketStar, we …open the opportunity to further our consumer products strategy by expanding quickly into attractive target markets."
The company plans to launch further kiosks in Nevada before the end of 2013. In 2014 it could expand its kiosks to 20 locations.