China and Japan get interested in 1366 Technologies ‘Direct Wafer’ technology



US-Based ‘Direct Wafer’ producer 1366 Technologies has attracted a new investor from China and a new customer in Japan. 

1366 Technologies said, Haiyin Capital, a China-based Venture Capital firm had invested US$5 million in the company as part of a US$22.5 million Series C investment round that brings total financing to around US$69.5 million. 

The company said the funds would be used for the previously planned new 250MW production plant in the US.

“1366’s technology will be uniquely important to the global silicon solar manufacturing chain which continues to seek new methods to strip out costs in the manufacturing process while increasing quality and efficiency,” said Yuquan Wang, Founding Partner, Haiyin Capital. “With Direct Wafer, the 1366 team provides an answer. We see the great potential for their technology in China and around the world.” 

The comments by the founder of Haiyin Capital suggest the VC could be active in promoting 1366 Technologies wafer technology to China-based integrated PV manufacturers and merchant producers. 

1366 Technologies also announced that Japan's IHI Corporation had specified the use of its wafers in two PV installations in Japan. 

In an unusual move, 1366 Technologies said it would be responsible for the procurement of the modules using its technology on behalf of IHI Corporation. 

“IHI intends to expand its portfolio of photovoltaic systems with innovative technologies that promise to dramatically reduce cost and improve efficiencies,” said Yukiya Nakagawa, Advisor, IHI Corporation. “The value proposition of 1366’s technology is clear and compelling not only in the short-term with traditional installation settings but also in the long-term as we explore installations where space is restricted and the value of efficiency even higher.”

“Our partnership with IHI demonstrates that the appeal of Direct Wafer extends downstream to global project developers who want to deliver high efficiency, high quality systems with lower technology costs,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO, 1366 Technologies. “These installations are an important stepping stone on the path to commercial scale manufacturing.

A pilot PV installation of 20 modules was installed and operational in late February 2015, which will be followed by a 1MW plant after unspecified field tests are completed. 
1366 Technologies noted that it expected a long-term partnership with IHI. 

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