In what's become an increasingly familiar tune, a startup company has announced that it's just pulled in a significant haul of funding based on its promises of better
solar power. In this case, the company in question is 1366 Technologies, which was spun out of research from MIT and is headed by MIT professor Ely Sachs (who is taking a leave of absence to focus on the company). According to the company, it's found a way to make solar cells from multicrystalline silicon that are just as efficient as ones from single-crystal silicon, which is normally much more expensive to produce. In terms of hard numbers, that translates to solar cells that are 27 percent more efficient than your average solar cell, and (in its current state) a cost a $2.10 per watt. Sachs says that cost will come down to $1.65 per watt when manufacturered on a commercial scale, however, and will eventually drop to $1.30 a watt with some "planned improvements." That's still short of the $1 a watt goal they're aiming for (which is roughly the cost of coal), but the company seems confident they can hit that mark by 2012 with some "anticipated advances."