1366 Tech & Hunt Perovskite Tech Announce Merger to Form CubicPV

Highlights :

  • 1366 Technologies and Hunt Perovskite Technologies have merged to form CubicPV to produce powerful tandem modules.
  • CubicPV will receive $25 million in funding from Hunt Energy Enterprises, L.L.C., First Solar, Inc., Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and others.

Massachusetts-headquartered silicon wafer maker 1366 Technologies, Inc. and Dallas-based solar technology company Hunt Perovskite Technologies, L.L.C (HPT) announced yesterday that they have merged their businesses to form a new company called CubicPV — a name that evokes the shared cubic crystal structure of both silicon and perovskite.

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The merger combines two disruptive technologies – 1366’s Direct Wafer® process and HPT’s printed perovskite solar photovoltaic (PV) technology – to bring to market powerful tandem modules to lead the rapidly growing solar industry. CubicPV will also receive $25 million in funding from Hunt Energy Enterprises, L.L.C. (HEE), First Solar, Inc., Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and others. HEE will join the Board of Directors.

1366 recently also announced plans to invest $300 million to set up a 2 GW solar wafer and cell manufacturing facility in India under the government’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.

To date, the solar industry has primarily depended on single junction PV technology or the use of only one light absorbing material, often silicon, to convert sunlight to electricity. This technology is approaching a module efficiency ceiling of 24%, through small, incremental gains. Tandem technology, also referred to as multi-junction, introduces a much needed dynamic in that it layers two light absorbers into one device, thereby breaking the efficiency barrier of single junction devices and boosting the power output of the end panel by 30 percent.

Perovskite materials have tremendous potential in single junction devices, given their inherent cost advantages, and are ideal for tandem modules due to their highly-tunable light absorption properties. It is the latter that allow perovskite semiconductors to effectively capture the sun’s visible light as a tandem top cell while Direct Wafer products provide the optimum low-cost bottom cell to harness the infrared portion of the solar spectrum. In a tandem structure, the bottom layer produces one-third of the device’s energy but still carries 100% of the production cost. It is here where the Direct Wafer cost advantage is essential.

During the last two years, 1366 has been working towards a tandem future, receiving support from BEV and returning investors that recognize the fundamental role Direct Wafer technology plays in making tandem modules a reality. The merger with HPT is expected to pave the path to long-term tandem leadership.

Interest in perovskite technology has surged in recent time, given the material’s potential for high efficiency, low cost, and broad applicability in the semiconductor industry, particularly in solar. Perovskite solar devices are rapidly approaching the efficiency records set by silicon PV. The primary obstacle remaining in the commercialization of perovskite solar technology is durability; an area where HPT has excelled. HPT believes that it has tackled the durability issue through better chemistry and building intrinsic stability into the material itself, making it far more robust. The company has developed a strong global patent portfolio on the technology with more than 160 patent assets to its name.

“Our singular Direct Wafer process is the crucial advantage in making tandem modules a reality and with the HPT merger, we have the blueprint for achieving economically-viable, tandem solutions for terawatt-scale,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies and the new CubicPV.

“Eight years ago, Hunt made the strategic decision to focus on developing perovskite solar cells, recognizing its importance as a ‘next generation technology’ to complement silicon and help address the world’s energy needs,” said Hunter Hunt, CEO, Hunt Energy, the parent company for both Hunt Perovskite Technologies and Hunt Energy Enterprises. “By merging with 1366, we collectively are uniquely positioned to lead the industry in the development and manufacturing of affordable, durable solar technology.”

1366 and HPT will begin to operate immediately as CubicPV, with offices in Bedford, Massachusetts, and Dallas, Texas. North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Partners joined Breakthrough Energy Ventures, First Solar, and HEE in funding the new entity. Wilmer Hale served as legal counsel to 1366 Technologies and Baker Botts acted as legal counsel to HEE.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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