With the technology to cut solar wafer costs by 50 percent and the business partners to help make it happen, 1366 intends to make renewables even more affordable in the near future.
Many people think of the solar module as the input with the least room to fall, and point to the gains to be had in balance of systems costs – such as racking and inverters – or soft costs, such as sales, design, permitting, interconnection and inspection.
Module costs have room to fall as well, and 1366 Technologies is out to deliver a better and cheaper way to manufacture the basic commodity that lies at the heart of much of the solar industry, the multi-silicon wafer.
Multi-crystalline silicon is the most commonly deployed solar technology, accounting for almost three-fourths of current solar installations on the planet.
From a cost perspective, this matters, since – according to 1366 CEO Frank van Mierlo – the wafer represents 40 percent of the overall cost of the module.
So a 50% cost reduction can cut the module costs by 20%. With current world module prices currently at around 54 cents/watt, this suggests a price cut of over 10 cents per watt.
Deutsche Bank currently estimates unsubsidized rooftop solar to cost approximately $2.66 per watt by year’s end.