Following reported "months of intense technical collaboration," 1366 Technologies will supply Hanwha Q Cells with 700 MW of its PV wafers over five years. 1366 intends to supply the Korean manufacturer with kerfless wafers from its New York State facility, which is planned to come online in 2017.
This agreement with one of the worlds most respected and innovative solar manufacturers is, no doubt, a significant milestone for our business," said Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies, in a statement. "It further demonstrates the compelling capabilities of the Direct Wafer technology and the readiness of this innovation, and establishes its long-term bearing on the industry."
We are pleased with the progress we have made together during the past year," added Seong-woo Nam, CEO of Hanwha Q Cells. "[We are] excited about the potential of 1366s Direct Wafer products with Hanwhas cell and module technologies to deliver further cost reductions and LCOE competitiveness to standard multi-crystalline wafer-based modules.
Hanwha Q Cells recently achieved a cell conversion efficiency of 19.1% using 1366 kerfless wafers, demonstrating that the U.S. company’s technology is compatible with Q Cells’ Q.ANTUM PERC technology.
1366 will now have to execute on its new fab and technology plans. The 700 MW supply deal is provisional on 1366 meeting "certain terms and conditions related to its wafer qualification and timing of delivery."
Kerfless wafer production is a potentially disruptive technology, in that it allows for silicon wafer production using a "single step" process, rather than the ingot production and mechanical wafering process deployed in mainstream solar production today. 1366 has previously reported that its Direct Wafer technology can deliver a 44% reduction in silicon usage, when compared to standard processes. This can reduce wafer production costs by 54%, the company claims.
1366 is scheduled to break ground at its Genesee County, Upstate New York, facility this quarter. It aims to produce 50 million silicon wafers annually in the factory’s first phase, enough to produce 250 MW of solar cells.