Massachusetts-based 1366 Technologies has enlisted the help of two new private investors as it continues to develop its ground-breaking solar wafer technology. GE Energy Financial Services and VantagePoint Venture Partners are the latest firms to offer their financial backing to the project, which has now amassed US$46 million in private investment.
The new investors join North Bridge Venture Partners, Hanwha Chemical and Ventizz Capital Partners in an US$8.4-million extension of the October 2010 US$20-million funding round. Finance from the Series B extension have also been supplemented by US$4 million in federal funding from ARPA-E – a U.S. Department of Energy agency.
“The interest and support we continue to see from the investment and industrial communities are further validation of our vision, our business, and our technologies,” said 1366 CEO, Frank van Mierlo. “While our goal to deliver the manufacturing innovations that will make solar electricity cheaper than coal is ambitious, the confidence bestowed on us from the private and public sectors is a direct result of our progress. We’re well on our way to making our goal a reality.”
1366 claim its Direct Wafer manufacturing technique reduces the costs by 65% by creating wafers directly from molten silicon and consolidating the four-steps of silicon wafer production into one. The company plan to make its technology available commercially next year.
“1366 Technologies’ efficient and low-cost process produces silicon wafers – the market for which doubled to US$7.5 billion from 2009 to 2010 – that can be easily fed into existing solar PV cell manufacturing lines,” said Kevin Skillern, managing director of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services.