1366 Technologies, a silicon wafer manufacturer, has earned attention from China and Japan. Haiyin Capital, a Chinese Venture Capital firm, has invested US$5 million in 1366. Besides, IHI Corporation signed long-term partnership with 1366 to buy the company’s Direct Wafer® for two Japanese solar projects.
1366’ Direct Wafer™ forms multi-crystalline wafers directly from molten silicon instead of today’s multi-step, energy- and capital-intensive process. The result is a uniformly better wafer, created at one-half the cost because the technology replaces several inefficient machines with one, uses 50% less silicon than traditional methods. It also creates meaningful environmental benefits by eliminating slurry (a highly abrasive liquid used during wafer cutting and polishing) and halving silicon waste.
Haiyin Capital’s US$5 million investment is part of its US$ 22.5 million Series C financing round. The round will be used for constructing 1366’s 250MW full-scale manufacturing facility, which is planned to produce 60 million standard silicon wafers annually. Yuquan Wang, Founding Partner, Haiyin Capital, commented, “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. We see the great potential for their technology in China and around the world.”
On the other hand, IHI Corporation will use 1366’s Direct Wafers in two new solar installations in Japan through its wholly-owned subsidiary, IHI Plant Construction Co., Ltd. Under the agreement, 1366 will supply IHI with its PV modules incorporating Direct Wafers and will manage the module procurement process. Before this agreement, IHI and 1366 has celebrated the completion of a 20-module test PV installation, which also uses the Direct Wafer technology, on February 26th.
“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.” IHI will break ground on the second PV generation system (1MW) using the Direct Wafer soon.
(Photo Credit: 1366 Technologies)