This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 17, 2004

General Electric Wins Approval to Buy AstroPower Assets

AstroPower, Inc. announced on March 12th that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court presiding over the company's Chapter 11 proceedings has approved the sale of most of AstroPower's assets to Heritage Power LLC, which is representing the General Electric Company (GE). The sale price was $15 million cash, and AstroPower expects the sale to close by the end of this month. Although GE has yet to comment on the sale, the company has a good track record of reviving renewable energy businesses, having bought the Enron Wind Corporation in May 2002 and developed it into a thriving business offering new multi-megawatt wind turbines. If the AstroPower purchase goes through, GE will be a U.S. leader in both wind and solar energy technologies. AstroPower filed for bankruptcy in February after months of financial difficulties. See the AstroPower press release and the GE Wind Energy Web site.

While AstroPower is changing hands, another U.S. solar power company is preparing to expand. Ohio's First Solar Corporation expects to produce 6 megawatts of solar cells this year and is currently expanding its production four-fold, allowing the company to produce 25 megawatts of solar cells in 2005. The State of Ohio is providing a $5-million low-interest loan to aid in the expansion. See the First Solar press release (PDF 102 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.