Solar Industry Makes Top 25 Smartest Companies

The Eco Experts team were delighted to see that the MIT Review – one of the very last words in technology and innovation – has named a solar company in its Top 50 Smartest Companies of 2014.

Congratulations to 1366 Technologies who’ve made it to 25th place in this prestigious line-up. And as endorsements come, the MIT seal of approval can only mean great things for the future of solar power.


The Criteria

What makes this list so special is that it’s not based on reputation or the number of patents a business has to its name, it’s based on companies making great leaps in technology right now – innovators making changes that will define and shape their whole industry in the not so distant future. Of course, companies like Google, Amazon and Dropbox placed very highly in this roll-call of innovators, but so did plenty of tech startups. And one notable absentee this year was Apple.

MIT logo

The magazine’s editors placed Illumina in the top spot this year for their pioneering work in DNA sequencing. In January they revealed that their machines can now read a person’s genome for the equivalent of just £600. What this means for medicine is huge – immeasurable, in fact - but the ability to decode an individual patient’s genome is going to be the key to solving all manner of treatment and medical predicaments in the near future. Other big hitters on the MIT list are energy efficiency technologies, biotech startups, LED light bulb manufacturers and electric car industries. Safe to say, then, that 1366 Technologies are in superb company.

Why 1366 Technologies?

MIT say it best themselves: 1366 Technologies has “managed the nearly impossible for a solar startup” simply by remaining to be in business as other major players like Solar BP and Solyndra and Abound Solar have fallen by the wayside. And not only this: they’ve positively thrived on it. The company opened their first silicon-wafer factory in 2013, and the Boston-based organisation is now said to be revolutionising the way solar wafers are made by refining the manufacturing process into one step. What this means is that the price of their wafers has become dramatically competitive, without compromising on quality one iota.

Solar Constant

The cutting edge technology this company now has and will continue to wield over its competition - where customers are always looking to compare prices - is what has kept this business booming, producing over 1,000 wafers every day. Given that wafers account for around 40% of a solar panel’s overall cost, it’s not surprising that 1366, with its cost-effective new means of production, have seized and cornered the advantage. By the end of 2015, the company wants to have fifty of their new silicon furnaces in its new factory, turning over enough solar wafers to produce 250 megawatts of renewable energy.

What Does This Mean for Solar?

Put simply, only good things. As solar energy becomes noted amongst the top fifty companies to watch over the coming year - amongst electric cars and cutting-edge DNA technologies – the renewable energy industry is only further asserting itself as a commodity that’s here to stay for the long term.

The MIT Top 50

Table of MIT Smartest Companies Results

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