Massachusetts solar chip maker inks Upstate deal

1366 Technologies, a Massachusetts developer of technology for the solar industry, plans a $700 million production facility in upstate Genesee County that will create 600 jobs over the next five years, with another 400 to follow.

Headquartered in Bedford, Mass., 1366 Technologies develops and manufactures high performance silicon wafers, the building blocks of solar cells and the most expensive component of a solar panel. The company’s revolutionary Direct Wafer technology transforms how the wafers are made and slashes the cost of a wafer by 50 percent. As a “drop-in” replacement for conventional wafers, 1366 Technologies makes it easy for cell and module manufacturers to quickly reduce costs, with few or no changes to their production lines.

Phase 1 of the firm’s investment totals about $100 million and includes the state constructing a 130,000 square-foot facility that 1366 will lease for 10 years, during which the company will build out the remainder of its campus. The total state investment, counting tax breaks and energy cost reductions, is about $56 million.

“This $700 million investment is an enormous vote of confidence in the Upstate economy and sends the message that there is opportunity in every corner of this state,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in announcing the deal.

From the firm’s website: “The science is understood. The material is abundant. The products work. All that is left is to build the largest manufacturing industry in the history of mankind. This is what we intend to do.”