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August 3, 2009

Silicon and Photovoltaics, 1366 Technologies to Revolutionize Solar Energy

Filed under: Start-up Companies Reviews — admin @ 6:07 am

With the growing demand for alternative sources of energy, many companies are looking to solar and wind power for answers. There are many solar companies out there, but 1366 Technologies seems to a unique and innovative way to harness solar energy and aims to make solar energy cost the same as that energy generated by coal.

The type of technology that 1366 Technologies employs is photovoltaics. Photovoltaics is a silicon based technology that has no moving parts and the prototype has also been successful in the field. The one main ingredient in photovoltaic technology is silicon, which is readily available. Silicon makes up about 90% of sand and has also been used in micro-electronics because of its conductivity.

One of the key components to 1366’s products is its innovative cell architecture. The cell architecture used by the company in its products was developed by Prof. Ely Sachs. What makes this cell architecture so unique and effective, is that it actually improves the texture of the solar panel and enhances the efficiency of multi-crystalline cells. The most important aspect, however, is that this new cell architecture reduces cost. This is the key to make solar energy attractive to the marketplace. If solar energy can be made to effectively generate the power that is used by the average household and be cost effective at the same time, it is the key to get solar energy out to the mainstream market.

Furthermore, another positive for 1366 Technologies and this new cell architecture is that 1366 Technologies plans to work closely together with other solar energy companies and government agencies to help further develop this technology.

Another innovative technology that is developed by 1366 Technologies is the Light Capturing Ribbon. This is used together with the new cell technology. The light capturing ribbon is actually incorporated into the solar panel under the glass and it works by capturing the sun’s light and is soldered to the silver bus-bar. As the light comes into the unit, it is captured by the ribbon and then reflected off the glass inside the panel and then gets absorbed by the cell. Doing this actually enhances the solar source inside the actual unit, enabling the unit to generate more electricity than the conventional solar panel.

As mentioned before, this technology is the brainchild of Prof Ely (Emanuel) Sachs, who is the CTO of 1366 Technologies and also sits on the company’s board of directors. Prof. Sachs is a professor at the Daniel Fort Flowers School of Engineering at MIT and his specialty is in the designing and manufacturing process. Prof. Sachs does have several patents under his name and one of his inventions included the String Ribbon, which is a ribbon crystal growth that can be employed in making substrates for solar panels. Prof. Sachs is also a graduate of MIT, where in 1975 he received a BS in Engineering, then in 1976 he received his MS, also in Engineering, then went on to receive his PhD in Engineering in 1983.

Other members of 1366’s board of directors include Carmichael Roberts, Bob Metcalfe, Prof. Joe Lassiter, and Frank Van Mierlo.

1366 Technologies’ investors include North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners, who invested $12.4 million in series A funding on March 27, 2008.

North Bridge Venture Partners or NBVP is a bicoastal vc firm with offices in both Boston, Massachusetts and San Mateo, California; and mainly invests in early stage companies in the communications, healthcare, materials and manufacturing systems, semiconductors and components, services, and software industries. Other companies in NBVP’s portfolio include A123Systems, Active Endpoints, DYM, Idiom, eRoom Technology, FirstSense Software, and others.

Polaris Venture Partners is a rather large vc firm that invests in seed, early and mid stage companies who are in the IT and other industries. Polaris Venture Partners has over $3 billion under its management and since its founding has invested in over 90 companies. Some other companies in Polaris’s portfolio include Athletes’ Performance, BlackArrow, Sprout, TechTarget, Thing Labs, Turbine, Ember, Silicon Optics, and others.

For more information about 1366 Technologies, click here.

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