California solar plants surpass expectations by more than 10%

NEWARK, Del., March 4, 2002 — AstroPower, Inc. announced today that its solar electric power products exceeded expectations for annual output in two California solar power plants.

AstroPower products enabled the plants to surpass expectations by more than 10% by generating a total of 320,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2001. Located in Hopland and Berkeley, CA, the plants are owned and operated under a joint-venture agreement between AstroPower and Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. The plants began operations in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

The Hopland power plant features 132 kilowatts of AstroPower solar electric panels, which are elevated to serve as a series of shade structures totaling 15,000 square feet. The plant is located at the Real Goods Solar Living Center, a non-profit clean energy retail and teaching facility in Hopland which attracts more than 150,000 visitors annually. The shade structures of AstroPower panels form a canopy for Solar Living Center outdoor events, illustrating yet another way solar power can be integrated into mainstream consumer applications.

The 100-kilowatt Berkeley power plant is composed of 39,000 state-of-the-art AstroPower solar cells. The plant is located on the roof of a working factory and provides both electricity production and energy efficiency in a photovoltaic rooftile assembly.

Both distributed generation plants offer versatility and fixed-cost pricing, and operate automatically with no staff needed. The plants, which interconnect at distribution voltage, provide the California utility grid with reliable, renewable electricity. All of the electricity produced by the plants is purchased by Green Mountain Energy for distribution to the electric grid under a multi-year power-purchase agreement.

“The Hopland and Berkeley power stations substantially exceeded expectations this year,” said Howard Wenger, Vice President, North American Business, at AstroPower. “They are proving once again that solar power is the ultimate power generation technology. The solar plants support the utility grid during peak demand periods, and do so with pure, clean power from an inexhaustible resource.”

“The true measurement of any electricity generator is the kilowatt-hours of electricity produced,” said Dr. Allen Barnett, President and CEO of AstroPower. “There are complex algorithms to predict energy generation that are used by all manufacturers of generating equipment – gas turbines, coal-fired generators, etc. The fact that these two power plants produced 110% of expected energy last year is truly notable and a credit to the generating product and the system.

About AstroPower
Headquartered in Newark, Delaware, AstroPower is an 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 PV solar cells, modules, panels and systems for generating solar electric power. 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.

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