Solar energy technology loan guarantee finalized

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finalized a $150 million loan guarantee to 1366 Technologies Inc. for the development of a multicrystalline wafer manufacturing project.

The project will be capable of producing approximately 700 to 1,000 MW of silicon-based wafers annually using a manufacturing process called Direct Wafer.  Direct Wafer is designed to reduce four separate manufacturing steps into one continuous process. The process reduces silicon waste by forming individual wafers directly from a bath of molten silicon. A sheet of silicon freezes inside the direct wafer furnace and is then removed and laser-trimmed to size.

The technology’s original development was supported with a $4 million grant from DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy program and a $3 million grant from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Phase 1 of the project will be located in Lexington, Mass. The company is evaluating site locations for another planned phase.

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