The horizons have dramatically darkened for what was once a bright light in the solar photovoltaic (PV) market. AstroPower, which has been plagued by financial difficulty since early last year, has filed for bankruptcy and reached an agreement to sell “certain” of its U.S. business assets to industrial heavyweight, GE Energy.Newark, Delaware – February 2, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The company said filing for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy code of the United States, is at least partially designed to facilitate the sale of assets to GE Energy. The transaction with GE Energy will be subject to competitive bidding and Bankruptcy Court approval. If approved, the parties hope to close some time in the first quarter of 2004. “The proceeds from the sale will be used to repay some of the Company’s outstanding obligations,” said Carl H. Young III, interim CEO of AstroPower. “We anticipate that the proceeds will be sufficient to allow at least a modest return to the Company’s unsecured creditors, although it is unlikely that there will be any return to the Company’s shareholders.” Astropower, was once a major player in the solar market but experienced a steady decline since last year when failures to disclose financial statements resulted in a Nasdaq delisting, leading to further financial woes. Headquartered in Newark, Delaware, AstroPower manufactures solar electric power products, and provides solar electric power systems for the mainstream residential market. AstroPower also develops, manufactures, markets and sells a range of solar electric power generation products, including solar cells, modules and panels, as well as its SunChoice pre-packaged systems for the global marketplace. The acquisition represents a continuation of GE Energyýs (formerly GE Power Systems) strategy of developing a renewable energy portfolio. GE Energy is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation technology, energy services, and management systems with 2003 revenues of nearly $18.5 billion. GE Energy provides equipment, service and management solutions across the power generation, oil and gas, distributed power and energy rental industries.