Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

1366 Technologies Opens Innovative Solar Manufacturing Facility


Many new solar energy companies are working on silicon alternatives, but 1366 Technologies is taking a different approach— the MIT-founded company has invented both a new cell architecture for multi-crystalline solar cells and a manufacturing process to lower the cost of the cells. The process is so effective that 1366 believes it can make solar cost-competitive with coal by 2012. And with this week’s opening of the company’s solar manufacturing facility, that vision may actually come true.

According to 1366 Technologies President Frank van Mierlo, current silicon cells are practically begging for improvement. “The cheapest cell on the market is the multicrystalline solar cell. Notice that it’s blue—it should be black,” he said. “We believe we can do a better job of trapping and capturing light.”

1366 Technologies’ new cell architecture, which was developed by MIT Professor Emanuel Sachs, improves surface texture and metallization enough to enhance silicon solar cell efficiency by 25 percent while also lowering costs.

Additionally, the company has pioneered a light-capturing ribbon that increases solar module efficiency by reflecting light back onto the surface of the cell. The ribbon can recover up to 80 percent of the photocurrent from light that strikes the ribbon—a vast improvement over the 5 percent recovery rate of standard interconnect wires.

The 1366 pilot plant will run for nine months, at which point a full-scale manufacturing plant will be readied. The company hopes to break ground on the larger plant sometime in the next calendar year.

“I genuinely believe this is the problem of our century, and this is arguably the most challenging and rewarding effort one can undertake, ” van Mierlo said. “I’m glad that a lot of very smart people feel the same way.”

Photo Credit: 1366 Technologies

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


You May Also Like


Group14 has secured a $400 million investment from Porsche that will help build a new factory for its silicon-anode batteries.


Tiny Luxembourg aims to dominate the graphene nanotube market for next-generation EV batteries and other sustainable tech.


This episode of CleanTech Talk is part two of a recent conversation I had with RK Equity cofounder Howard Klein. You can listen to...


Scientists show exactly how promising approach to better batteries breaks down.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.