Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 29th June
1366 Technologies, Inc. and Hunt Perovskite Technologies, L.L.C (HPT) have merged, combining two disruptive technologies – 1366’s Direct Wafer process and HPT’s printed perovskite solar photovoltaic (PV) technology – to bring to market powerful tandem modules. The newly combined company, called CubicPV, will also receive $25 million in funding from Hunt Energy Enterprises, L.L.C. (HEE), First Solar, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and others.
To date, the solar industry has primarily depended on single junction PV technology, or the use of only one light absorbing material, often silicon, to convert sunlight to electricity. This technology is approaching a module efficiency ceiling of 24%, through small, incremental gains. Tandem technology, also referred to as multi-junction, layers two light absorbers into one device, thereby breaking the efficiency barrier of single junction devices and boosting the power output of the end panel by 30 percent.
Perovskite materials have tremendous potential in single junction devices given their inherent cost advantages and are ideal for tandem modules due to their highly-tunable light absorption properties. It is the latter that allow perovskite semiconductors to effectively capture the sun’s visible light as a tandem top cell while Direct Wafer products provide the optimum low-cost bottom cell to harness the infrared portion of the solar spectrum. In a tandem structure, the bottom layer produces one-third of the device’s energy but still carries 100% of the production cost. It is here where the Direct Wafer cost advantage is essential.
“We have the blueprint for achieving economically-viable, tandem solutions for terawatt-scale,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies and the new CubicPV. “Since their founding, both companies have championed the importance of low-cost manufacturing innovations to achieving the world’s energy transition goals. By joining forces, our combined entity is uniquely positioned to lead the rapidly growing solar industry.”
During the last two years, 1366 has been working towards a tandem future, attracting the support of BEV and returning investors that recognize the fundamental role Direct Wafer technology plays in making tandem modules a reality. The merger with HPT will pave a path to long-term tandem leadership.
Interest in perovskite technology has surged given the material’s potential for high efficiency, low cost, and broad applicability in the semiconductor industry, particularly in solar. Perovskite solar devices are rapidly approaching the efficiency records set by silicon PV. The primary obstacle remaining in the commercialization of perovskite solar technology is durability; an area where HPT has excelled. HPT has tackled the durability issue through better chemistry and building intrinsic stability into the material itself, making it far more robust. HPT has developed one of the strongest global patent portfolios on the technology with more than 160 patent assets to its name.