RIL invests in Germany's Nexwafe, gets access to proprietary low-cost tech for PV-cell production

RIL intends to leverage NexWafe’s technology to set up giga-scale wafer manufacturing facilities in India, to serve the domestic and the global markets. Reliance and NexWafe have entered into an India Strategic Partnership Agreement for joint development and commercialisation at scale of high-efficiency, monocrystalline “green solar wafers”.

Moneycontrol News October 13, 2021 09:10:00 IST
RIL invests in Germany's Nexwafe, gets access to proprietary low-cost tech for PV-cell production

Representational image. Reuters

Reliance New Energy Solar (RNESL), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries (RIL), will invest 25 million euros ($29 million) in Germany’s NexWafe GmbH.

RNESL will be the strategic lead investor for the German company's 39 million euros Series C financing round. The RIL company has entered into an agreement with NexWafe, a company that produces high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon wafers, to acquire 86,887 series C preferred shares at 287.73 euros apiece, a company statement said on October 12. RNESL will also be issued 36,201 warrants which are exercisable for a sum of 1 euro each subject to achievement of agreed milestones, the company said in an exchange filing.

NexWafe has a proprietary technology that can drastically reduce the cost of producing photovoltaic (PV) cells; a company statement says that the technology can make “solar photovoltaics the lowest-cost form of renewable energy available”. The technology is to develop and produce monocrystalline silicon wafers directly from inexpensive raw materials, going directly from the gas phase to finished wafers without the expensive and energy intensive intermediate steps, according to the filing.

RIL intends to leverage NexWafe’s technology to set up giga-scale wafer manufacturing facilities in India, to serve the domestic and the global markets. Reliance and NexWafe have entered into an India Strategic Partnership Agreement for joint development and commercialisation at scale of high-efficiency, monocrystalline “green solar wafers”.

This is yet another step by RIL towards achieving the target it has set for itself of generating 100GW of renewable energy (or 22 percent of the national target) by 2030. Reliance is investing Rs 75,000 crore (Rs $10 billion) over the next three years in renewable energy, including the setting up of gigafactories in a 5,000-acre, integrated complex called Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex in Jamnagar, Gujarat. The complex is expected to have an integrated solar photovoltaic module factory for the production of solar energy, an advanced energy storage battery factory for the storage of intermittent energy, an electrolyser factory to produce green hydrogen and a fuel-cell factory to convert hydrogen into motive and stationery power. It will also house infrastructure to manufacture ancillary material and equipment for the gigafactories.

RIL is in the process of transforming their energy and materials businesses. At the company’s annual general meeting in June, the conglomerate’s chairman and managing director (CMD) Mukesh Ambani had outlined their plan for their new energy business--first through hyper-integration, of scientific knowledge and technological innovation; second by building a business model that catches the upward curve in demand for clean energy and downward curve in cost of production; and third by working on improving efficiency of assets and operations.

Over the last few days, the conglomerate has made acquisitions and partnerships that align with that vision.

On October 12, in a separate announcement, RIL stated that RNSEL has partnered with Stiesdal A/S to develop and manufacture hydrogen electrolysers. RNESL has been given the licence for this, it said in an exchange filing. Stiesdal is a Danish company that develops and commercialises technologies on climate-change mitigation.

On October 10, Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL) announced its acquisition of Norway-headquartered REC Solar Holdings AS (REC Group). The acquisition is key to RIL's new-energy vision to become a global-scale photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing player, with access to heterojunction technology (HJT) that enhances the performance of solar plants.

That apart, in another deal, RNESL on October 10 said it will acquire 40 percent of Sterling and Wilson Solar Ltd (SWSL), underscoring the company's clean-energy ambitions.
On Tuesday, the stock of Reliance Industries (RIL ended 0.66 percent higher at Rs 2,668.55 on the BSE.

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