1366 Technologies secures another $10 million to build commercial-scale kerfless wafer plant


Today 1366 Technologies announced that it has secured another $10 million investment in its current series C round from Korea’s Hanwha Investment Corporation. This brings the total for the round to $32.5 million, and the company says that it will invest the $10 million in its new factory underway in Upstate New York.

??The new factory in Genesee County will make 1366’ kerfless wafers, which are produced directly from molten silicon using its Direct Wafer technology. The capacity to produce 250 MW of wafers annually is planned for the first phase of the factory, and 1366 already holds a contract to supply Hanwha Q Cells with 700 MW of Direct Wafers.

1366 notes that Hanwah Investment and Hanwha Q Cells are separate companies in the Hanwha Group, and that the decisions to invest and to purchase the wafers were separate and went through separate due diligence from separate teams.

The Genesee plant will be the first commercial-scale factory for kerfless wafers to be built in the world. As such it opens up new possibilities for disrupting the existing, multi-step, wasteful and energy-intensive process of casting polysilicon ingots and slicing wafers.

However, it is unclear if 1366 is going to meet earlier announced timelines. 1366 CEO Frank van Mierlo declined to answer pv magazine’s question about whether or not the factory would break ground this quarter, as previously planned. He instead stated that design and engineering work is underway, and that the site was being prepared.

Van Mierlo states that 1366 is still negotiating a few contracts for financing for the $100 million factory, and told pv magazine to expect “more good news soon”. The plant will also receive support from the state of New York and financing is backed by a loan guarantee through the U.S. Department of Energy.

Van Mierlo states that he still expects the first phase to be online by the end of 2017, but that “with all construction projects of this size there’s potential that timing could be affected by any number of events or circumstances”.

Correction: This article was corrected on May 5 at 9:30 AM EST. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the funding was for the company’s D round, and placed the new factory in Geneseo, instead of Genesee County.