Cash in the sun

1366 Technologies, a new MIT start-up aiming to make solar power competitive with coal power, has announced it has secured $12.4m in a first round of financing.

1366 Technologies, a new MIT start-up aiming to make inexpensive high-efficiency silicon solar cells, has secured $12.4m in a first round of financing co-led by North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners.

MIT Professor, 1366 founder and CTO, Ely Sachs, noted that 1366 Technologies has developed an innovative silicon cell architecture and a complementary manufacturing methodology that will allow it to make the solar cells so inexpensively that, once deployed, they would produce electricity at a comparable cost to that generated from coal powered stations.

The solar cells, developed at MIT, are claimed to have an efficiency to 25 per cent, and to build them, the company has taken space in Lexington, Massachusetts where it will erect a pilot solar cell manufacturing facility.

1366 Technologies plans to partner with solar companies and government agencies, licensing its technology. In addition, the company has rather ambitious ideas to build industrial, 100MW plants around the world.

‘Once the pilot plant has proven itself, we’ll work with governments and energy agencies worldwide to build a string of factories,’ said Carmichael Roberts, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners, who is joining 1366 Technologies board of directors as chairman.