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ATS Spheral Solar(TM) Power and Elk Premium Building Products to develop new generation photovaltaic roofing products

November 14, 2003 | General

CAMBRIDGE, ON, Nov. 14 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc., its subsidiary Spheral Solar(TM) Power and Elk Premium Building Products Inc. (Elk), a subsidiary of ElkCorp., today announced they have entered into a memorandum of understanding under which they intend to work together to design, manufacture, test and commercialize a new generation of fully integrated photovoltaic roofing products, primarily for use in residential buildings.

The new products will take advantage of Elk's extensive knowledge and expertise in the residential roofing materials market and the unique qualities of Spheral Solar(TM) Technology.

The companies will bring considerable expertise to developing BIPV or Building-Integrated Photovoltaic products, which have long been considered the ultimate solution for the photovoltaic industry because significant reductions in material and installation costs can be achieved by making the photovoltaics an integral part of a building.

Elk is a leader in building product technology and has developed numerous integrated solutions for the roofing industry as well as consumer goods. These products have served to reduce costs, increase safety and productivity. Among these are the VersaShield(R) line of fire barrier products and RidgeCrest(R) line of integrated ridge cap and vent.

ATS and SSP are currently commercializing their proprietary Spheral Solar(TM) Technology and building their first 20 megawatt production facility in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. This revolutionary new photovoltaic technology allows for solar cells to be manufactured using thousands of tiny silicon beads bonded in an aluminum foil. The resulting flexible solar cell is expected to dramatically reduce the cost of solar energy and open a broad range of new uses of solar power by industrial, commercial and residential users worldwide. The cells are lightweight, pliable and break resistant and can be formed into a variety of shapes and sizes.

In announcing this working agreement, Milfred Hammerbacher, SSP's President said: "Finding strong partners in the building materials industry is key to our commercialization plan. Elk brings to this relationship a wealth of experience, earned over the past 45+ years, in the roofing industry and a proven track record of technological innovation. We are excited to have them involved in the development of truly innovative building products utilizing our new Spheral Solar(TM) Technology."

Added Tom Karol, ElkCorp's chairman and CEO: "Developing and integrating value added technology is fundamental to Elk's business process. The successful integration of photovoltaic technology into cost effective and aesthetically pleasing products is a project for which Elk is well positioned."

Details of the non-binding agreement between the three companies are subject to negotiation and will be defined upon completion of a definitive agreement.

The Advantages of Building-Integrated Photovoltaics
Unlike traditional photovoltaic systems which generally require mounting hardware and numerous roof penetrations for installation, BIPV products can be installed much like a building material without costly hardware and roof penetrations. Additionally, the overall aesthetics of the building will not be impacted by the photovoltaic system.

About ElkCorp
ElkCorp, through its subsidiaries, manufactures Elk brand premium roofing and building products (over 90% of ElkCorp's consolidated sales of US $506 million for the year ended June 30, 2003) and provides technologically advanced products and services to other industries. Each of ElkCorp's principal operating subsidiaries is the leader or one of the leaders within its particular market. Its common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: ELK).

About ATS and SSP
ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. ( is the industry's leading designer and producer of turn-key automation manufacturing and test systems, which are used in a variety of industries including: automotive, computer/electronics, healthcare, and consumer products. Spheral Solar(TM) Power (, is a subsidiary of ATS based in Cambridge, Ontario, that is dedicated to commercializing Spheral Solar(TM) Technology (SST), a revolutionary solar technology that combines the high efficiency of traditional silicon technology with the flexibility and durability of thin film technology. ATS employs approximately 3,700 people at 26 facilities in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia. The company's shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol ATA.

Certain forward looking statements are made in this news release including statements regarding possible future business. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, continued acceptance of the products, technologies, services and customer requirements of ATS, ElkCorp. and SSP and other risks detailed from time to time in periodic reports filed by the companies with regulatory authorities.

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For further information:
Ron Jutras, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
(519) 653 6500