A major supplier of solar electric products in the United States says it has reached an agreement in principle to settle litigation with the Department of Justice.
NEWARK, Delaware, US, 2001-05-04 <SolarAccess.com> Under the terms of the contemplated settlement, AstroPower Inc. will pay US$3.5 million to the federal government and the Department of Energy will consider the acquisition of the company’s Silicon-Film product for government use. “We believe that it is in the best interests of the Company and all of its shareholders to settle this dispute,” says president and CEO Allen Barnett. “Although we continue to disagree with the government’s allegations, we also recognize the significant costs of continuing with the litigation, both in terms of legal fees to defend the litigation and in the distraction of a number of key members of our management team.” The lawsuit was filed last October by the government, seeking penalties and damages of at least $7.9 million. The suit focused on overhead rates for government contracts between 1991 and 1995. “This is a great time to be in the solar electric power business,” adds Barnett. “Although we are growing very rapidly, demand from our existing customers continues to outstrip our manufacturing capacity. We need to focus our attention on addressing these opportunities and settling the litigation was necessary to do so.” A settlement would be reflected as a one-time charge in the financial results for the first quarter of this year. AstroPower is based in Delaware and claims to be the world’s largest independent manufacturer of solar electric power products. It develops and manufactures PV solar cells, modules, panels and systems for generating electricity in both off-grid and on-grid applications.