GE Backs 1366 Technologies

GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE (NYSE: GE), and VantagePoint Venture Partners have joined the list of investors behind Massachusetts-based solar company 1366 Technologies. 

Together with North
Bridge Venture Partners, Hanwha Chemical and Ventizz Capital Partners,
they’ve given an $8.4 million to extend the $20 million series B round
of funding announced last October.

1366 is using the funding to take its Direct Wafer technology into
production. The technology forms a 156mm multi-crystalline wafer
directly from molten silicon in a semi-continuous process that the
company says is reduces overall costs by up to 65%.

multi-crystalline wafer manufacturing involves a multi-step, batch
process of ingot casting, blocking, squaring, and sawing that wastes up
to 50% of the high-value silicon.

By using standard silicon feedstocks
and producing compatible wafers, 1366 intends to integrate its wafers into the
existing silicon photovoltaics’ supply chain and provide cost savings to
cell customers.

Technologies has raised almost $46 million from private investors, much
of which was spurred by $4 million in federal funding it received from
ARPA-E-a US Department of Energy agency set up to promote and fund
research and development of advanced energy technologies. 1366
Technologies was the only solar photovoltaics company to receive ARPA-E
funding out of 3,600 round-one applicants.

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