1366 Technologies, a 12-year-old MIT spinoff developing low-cost silicon wafers, one of the building blocks for solar panels, now has the support of billionaire-backed investment firm Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures co-led the startup’s Series E round, which 1366 Technologies closed on Tuesday at $18 million.
The new funding will go toward developing the company’s “Direct Wafer” furnaces, which can produce multiple wafers at a time at a low cost-below 15 cents per wafer piece, according to the release.
“Our investors recognize the power of a technology that introduces wafer innovation to the industry for the very first time,” 1366 Technologies said in the release.
“Until now, any significant innovation in solar has happened at the cell or module level. Our Direct Wafer technology changes this dynamic.”
It has also scored deals with several major players-in 2011, the company received a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy worth $150 million, and in 2016, it landed a long-term strategic partnership with German silicon manufacturer Wacker Chemie AG. BEV has several other Boston-area companies in its portfolio, including Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Form Energy and Motif FoodWorks.