Morning Brief: 1366 CEO says tandem cells are ‘most important innovation in solar since solar was first conceived’


The CEO of kerfless silicon wafer “startup” 1366 Technologies Frank van Mierlo is on the record as stating: “I’ve never doubted silicon. We really believed in it. The learning curve had been holding steady for 45 years – it’s a pretty predicable line. Why would that stop?” Yet, here’s van Mierlo at a recent talk saying that tandem modules made from a high-bandgap and a low-bandgap material are “the most important innovation in solar since solar was first conceived in Bell Labs in 1954.”

Over the years, 1366 Tech has raised more than $140 million from investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Tokuyama, North Bridge, Polaris, VantagePoint, Energy Technology Ventures, Hanwha Chemical, Ventizz Capital and Haiyin Capital. The company has won several million dollars’ worth of DOE grants and has used a $150 million loan guarantee offer from the DOE’s 1705 program. 1366’s technology forms wafers directly, using molten silicon, instead of silicon ingots sawn into wafers.

The proposed 150-MW Superior Solar Project in Sands Township, Michigan, headed by Savion, is in the early stages of planning and development. Savion is developing 69 solar projects in 24 states. “We’re here (today) to talk about this area as a potential project and get information from the community in order to design the project in a way that’s harmonious with existing land use,” said Courtney Timmons, development director for Savion, noting the need for solar power in the area, with the recent closures of the Presque Isle Power Plant and Shiras Steam Plant in Marquette.

Even after a report stated the company is a fraud, a reported SEC investigation and the resignation of its founder, some traders continue to buy Nikola shares. The stock jumped 14.5% on Sept. 30, 17.7% on Oct. 1 and even edged up 0.5% on Friday. Source: Axios

Utah’s Public Service Commission is currently deliberating on reducing the rooftop solar export credit by 84%, a proposal by PacifiCorp subsidiary, Rocky Mountain Power, that would effectively kill the solar industry in the state (very similar to what Nevada did in 2015). A public comments session will be held this Monday (124 people have signed up to give comment). A press conference will take place before the 2:00 p.m. public comments session, hosted by Utah’s Public Service Commission to collect comments on the docket (Docket No: 17-035-61). The PSC public hearing can be streamed on YouTube. Register for the virtual event at this link.

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