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Two US solar firms merge, new merged entity to build 2GW of wafer and cell manufacturing unit in India

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 28, 2021

In advanced stages of talks for partnership with a local Indian firm

US-based solar manufacturers 1366 Technologies and Hunt Perovskite Technologies on Sunday announced a merger to form CubicPV.

The new firm is in advanced stages of talks for partnership with a local Indian firm and plans to set up a 2GW solar wafer and cell manufacturing unit with an investment of around $300-350 million under the the central government's production-linked incentive scheme, Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies who has retained the top position at CubicPV, told BusinessLine.

“Our intent is to find a local partner in India and then jointly apply for the production-linked incentive,” van Mierlo said. “Somebody who understands the best way to interact with the local authorities, can help us access the right market channels, can facilitate the right approvals and the right human resource policies is very important.”

While CubicPV will set up and control the wafer and cell manufacturing parts of the production chain, the local partner would handle module assembly from the cells and marketing in the country, he added. CubicPV will utilise 1366's trademark Direct Wafer process which can produce wafers cheaply and quickly directly from molten silicon instead of ingots.

“India has a choice its predecessors in crystalline silicon solar manufacturing did not have, to elect innovation such as the Direct Wafer process over generic silicon technology. This advantage offers immediate traction by supporting both domestic generation and an export industry,” van Mierlo said.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), First Solar, and Hunt Energy Enterprises are the three top shareholders in CubicPV. A climate fund backed by Bill Gates and other billionaires including Reliance Industries CMD Mukesh Ambani, BEV will receive a $50 million contribution from Reliance Industries, the firm had said in a statement in November.

Published on June 28, 2021

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