MIT Solar Startup Launches with $12.4M

1366technologies.jpgA startup out of MIT that has developed new ways to manufacture and design silicon-based solar cells launched today with $12.4 million in funding from North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners. The new solar firm, 1366 Technologies, was founded by MIT Professor Ely Sachs, a long-time innovator of solar photovoltaics. Sachs is well-known for developing the string ribbon solar manufacturing technology, which has brought down the cost and raised the efficiency of solar panel production and has been the key to Evergreen Solar’s success.

The technologies being used for 1366 Technologies are for both the manufacturing of silicon cells as well as the architecture of the cell itself. The company claims that it can bring down the cost of manufacturing solar PV enough to reach cost parity with coal-based electricity — basically the holy grail of the solar photovoltaic industry. The company also says the design of the solar cell itself can deliver a cell with 19 percent efficiency, which is higher than many solar cells available.

Following the funding, 1366 Technologies is looking to start producing cells on a large scale, and plans to build its pilot solar cell manufacturing facility in Lexington, Mass. Polaris Partner and telecom entrepreneur Bob Metcalfe has also joined the company board. When we interviewed Metcalfe back in September, he indicated that Polaris was “on the trail of a photovoltaics company.” MIT’s newly launched 1366 must have been it.

Photo courtesy of 1366 Technologies.