Prototype modules featuring 1366 Technologies’ 3D direct wafers were on show this week at the SNEC show in Shanghai, the fruit of a partnership between the U.S-based wafer startup and module manufacturer Hanwha Q Cells.

According to 1366, the modules feature Q Cells’ PERC based Q.ANTUM technology, and have an expected power rating of 360 W. A company representative told pv magazine 1366’s technology roadmap anticipates efficiencies higher than 22% and the startup’s work to date indicates moving to thinner wafer designs can lead to better power output.

According to 1366, the wafers showcased at SNEC are an average of 130 microns thick – and in mass production could be as thin as 110 microns.

“The most vital metrics in solar are cost and performance and the 3D wafer feature allows innovative manufacturers like Q Cells to deliver the industry’s best price-performance ratio.”

Wafers for the prototype modules were produced at Q Cells’ Center for Technology Innovation and Quality in Thalheim, Germany.

Aside from the wafers, the modules were assembled in a six-busbar, 144 half cell format using components identical to those used in Q Cells’ commercial production.

“Thin wafers compatible with existing automation and equipment have long been an industry goal,” said Q Cells chief technology officer Ji Weon Jeong, “But are beyond the capabilities of mainstream wafer technologies.”