Two U.S. solar panel technology innovators combine to form CubicPV and make tandem modules

1366 Technologies and Hunt Perovskite Technologies (HPT) have merged their businesses. The merger combines two disruptive technologies – 1366’s Direct Wafer process and HPT’s printed perovskite solar 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, First Solar, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and others. Hunt Energy Enterprises will join the Board of Directors.

“This agreement will unite two of the solar industry’s most disruptive technologies to dramatically boost the energy harvest and drive down costs of solar installations, helping to meet the world’s electrification and climate goals,” said Michael D. Irwin, CTO of HPT and the newly formed CubicPV. “The value of our combined assets will write the next chapter for clean solar energy and underpin a massive industry that leads through innovation and cooperation to enable the leap to tandem PV.”

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, introduces a much needed dynamic in that it 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%.

1366 has had a lengthy relationship with Hanwha Q CELLS in bumping up cell efficiencies on single-junction solar panels. HPT most recently announced efficiency gains in ink-based perovskite solar cells.

Perovskite materials have tremendous potential in single-junction devices given their inherent cost advantages and 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.

“Our singular Direct Wafer process is the crucial advantage in making tandem modules a reality, and with the HPT merger, 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.”

1366 and HPT will begin to operate immediately as CubicPV, with offices in Bedford, Massachusetts, and Dallas, Texas. The name holds significance as it reflects the shared cubic crystal structure of both silicon and perovskite.

News item from CubicPV