Reliance’s solar unit Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL) will buy preferred shares of German firm NexWafe worth 25 million euros ($28.82 million).
NexWafe is developing and producing monocrystalline silicon wafers grown directly from inexpensive raw materials, going directly from the gas phase to finished wafers. This is expected to give solar manufacturers a significant advantage over existing photovoltaic technologies in terms of process efficiencies and hence also costs.
Key points to note –
- The investment is part of Nexwafe’s Series C total funding round of $39 mn for product and technology development.
- Reliance would also get access to Nexwafe’s technology to build large-scale wafer manufacturing facilities in India.
This is Reliance’s 4th investment in solar space in quick succession and all the deals are synergetic to each other. Previous 3 deals were –
- 100% acquisition of REC Solar Holdings for an enterprise value of $771 million (Rs 5,800 core) on October 10, 2021 – a solar cells/ panels and polysilicon manufacturer
- Acquisition of upto 51% stake in Sterling & Wilson Solar for Rs 3,663 crore on October 10, 2021 – a EPC contractor in solar business
- Investment of $50 mn (Rs 375 crore) in Ambri on August 10, 2021 – a battery maker
Reliance, which currently generates more than half of its revenue from refining and petrochemicals, is pushing for clean energy by setting up the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex on 5,000 acres in Jamnagar. This complex would have giga factories for integrated solar PV modules, electrolyzers, fuel cells and energy storage, respectively. As part of its green energy pivot, RIL also plans to help set up 100GW of solar energy by 2030.
The company has also obtained technology for hydrogen electrolyzers through its Stiesdal partnership. Electrolyzers are used for producing green hydrogen (through electrolysis of water). Denmark-based Stiesdal A/S is privately owned.
Stiesdal’s technology has potential to deliver significant cost reduction compared to currently available technologies like Alkaline, Proton Exchange Membrane, and Solid Oxide, where the cost of electrolyzers is about $800-1200/KW.