$2.3 million project aims to optimize residential solar electric power systems for the California market

NEWARK, Del., Aug. 28, 2002 — AstroPower Inc. announced recently that it has been awarded a cost-shared contract by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to complete a research and development project funded in part by the California Energy Commission.

The Optimization of Residential Photovoltaic (PV) Systems project calls for the development of an integrated solar electric power system tailored to the California residential market. The commission will fund more than $1.1 million of the $2.3-million project, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2004. AstroPower will provide the remaining $1.2 million.

The purpose of the project is to improve the performance and enhance the aesthetics, functionality, and usability of solar electric power systems, while decreasing consumer costs.

The commission developed the project as part of its Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, which is designed to bring environmentally safe, affordable, and reliable energy products to the California marketplace. PIER provides funding for the research and development of products that address existing and future needs of California’s electricity system.

“This agreement is a prime example of the type of collaborative research that helps resolve California’s electricity challenges and demonstrates a commitment to a diverse and affordable energy future,” said Energy Commissioner Art Rosenfeld. “By bringing a solar power system specifically designed for the California market to consumers, we’ll be able to reduce the cost of electricity in California, while increasing value.

“AstroPower is developing solar electric power systems that allow electricity customers to use the technology to help them respond dynamically, in real time, to demand. This solar electric power system will be tied to the home’s energy use profile. This is a hugely important step in the continuing development of the technology.

“Furthermore, through our partnership with AstroPower, the State of California and the commission will be better able to realize its goal of increasing renewable energy generation from 12% recently to 17% within the next five years,” Rosenfeld added.

The nation’s leading utility developer of solar power, SMUD will serve as project manager for the Optimization of Residential PV Systems initiative.

SMUD will support AstroPower in its development of an enhanced solar electric power system for the California market in an effort to increase its use of renewable electricity generation, reduce peak demand for electricity, and create broad renewable energy markets throughout California and the western United States.

“The Optimization of Residential PV Systems project is intended to bring the benefits of solar power to mainstream consumers throughout California,” said Cliff Murley, Project Manager at SMUD. “Lowering system cost will make the technology more accessible, while enhancing system design and performance will make it more attractive to this market.”

AstroPower’s SunChoiceà¢â€ž- solar electric home power systems are becoming standard features in new home construction throughout California and they are being offered through a growing retail network. “AstroPower has taken significant strides recently to put solar electric power into the hands of mainstream consumers,” said Dr. Allen Barnett, President and CEO of AstroPower.

“This agreement with the commission and SMUD will enable AstroPower to build on the success we have achieved thus far with our mainstream initiatives,” Barnett continued. “By bringing California residents solar power products that are specifically designed to meet their needs and budget, we will drive the technology further into the consumer market.”

About AstroPower

Headquartered in Newark, Delaware, AstroPower is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of solar electric power products, and one of the world’s fastest-growing solar electric power companies.

AstroPower develops, manufactures, markets and sells a range of solar electric power generation products, including solar cells, modules, and panels as well as its SunChoiceà¢â€ž- pre-packaged systems for the global marketplace. Solar electric power systems provide a clean, renewable source of electricity in both off-grid and on-grid applications. For more information, please visit www.astropower.com.

About California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is California’s primary energy policy and planning agency.

Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, the commission has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants that are 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting renewable energy; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.

With the signing of the Electric Industry Deregulation Law, the commission’s role includes overseeing funding programs that support public interest energy research; advance energy science and technology through research, development and demonstration; and provide market support to existing, new and emerging renewable technologies. For more information, please visit www.energy.ca.gov.

About Sacramento Municipal Utility District

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District began providing electricity to customers on December 31, 1946. SMUD generates, transmits and distributes electric power to a 900-square-mile service area that includes Sacramento County and a small portion of Placer County. SMUD’s vision is to be the community’s preferred supplier of electricity and energy services.

SMUD’s mission is to meet the electricity and energy-services needs of its customer-owners safely, dependably, economically and in an environmentally responsible manner while providing value to the community. For more information, please visit www.smud.org.

Source: AstroPower, Inc.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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