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1366 Technologies secures $15m to build a full-scale silicon wafer factory

Silicon wafer manufacturer 1366 Technologies, which recently opened a demonstration factory in Bedford, said Tuesday that it has secured $15 million in Series C funding, bringing the company’s total amount raised to $62 million.

The lead investor is Tokuyama Corp., Japan’s largest producer of ultra-pure silicon and a strategic partner of 1366’s. Returning investors include North Bridge Venture Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, VantagePoint Capital Partners, and Energy Technology Ventures, a joint venture involving General Electric, NRG Energy, and ConocoPhillips, 1366 Technologies said in a press release.

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The company is working on what it calls Direct Wafer technology, a manufacturing process that transforms silicon to wafers in a single step; this single-step process reduces capital expenditures by two thirds and cuts operating costs in half, 1366 Technologies claims.

The new round of funding is being allocated for the construction of 1366’s full-scale manufacturing facility, which will initially produce 250 MW or 60 million standard silicon wafers per year – enough to power more than 30,000 American homes – and ramp up to 1 GW annually, the company said.

In a statement, 1366 Technologies chief executive Frank van Mierlo said: “The team continues to make progress against our goal of delivering solar at the cost of coal. Our Bedford operation is well funded, and cash flow from operations will be positive in 2013. This new round, led by a strong strategic partner, provides scaling capital for our next phase and is a direct result of our ability to consistently advance the technology. We’ve taken a very deliberate route to high-volume production. In the process, we’ve built a stable, capital efficient business during the most challenging of times.”

Chris Reidy can be reached at
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