Reliance New Energy Solar Limited (RNESL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has invested $29 million as a strategic lead investor in Germany-based NexWafe GmbH’s (NexWafe) Series C financing round.
Nexwafe supplies wafers to solar cell producers. The company has raised $45 million in Series C funding round.
“The investment by Reliance will accelerate product and technology development for NexWafe, including completion of the commercial development of NexWafe’s solar photovoltaic products on prototype lines in Freiburg,” RIL said in a statement to the bourses.
Reliance and NexWafe have also entered into an India Strategic Partnership Agreement providing for joint technology development and commercialization, at scale, of highefficiency monocrystalline green solar wafers.
This investment comes two days after RIL acquired REC Solar Holdings from China National Bluestar (Group) Co. Ltd at an enterprise value of $771 million and agreed to buy a 40% stake in Sterling & Wilson Solar Ltd, a Shapoorji Pallonji group (SP group) company, for about ₹2,845 crore.
RIL through its partnership with NexWafe, will secure access to its proprietary technology and plans to build large-scale wafer manufacturing facilities in India using the NexWafe processes and technology.
“NexWafe is developing and producing monocrystalline silicon wafers grown directly from inexpensive raw materials, going directly from the gas phase to finished wafers. This proprietary process obviates the need for costly and energy intensive intermediate steps such as polysilicon production and ingot pulling on which traditional wafer manufacturing relies,” RIL said in the statement, adding that, NexWafe’s unique patented technology is expected to drastically cut wafer production costs, making solar photovoltaics the lowest-cost form of renewable energy available.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, RIL said, “We believe NexWafe’s innovative ultra-thin wafer will give solar manufacturers a significant advantage over existing photovoltaic technologies, helping consumers in India and globally realize the benefits of solar energy more quickly and more efficiently.”
Other investors joining RIL in the Series C Round include InnoEnergy, Lynwood, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and other incumbent and new investors, adding another nearly $12 million to the round. Additionally, InnoEnergy, will also convert its current debt of $4.7 million in NexWafe into equity at the same share price as the Series C Round share.
Davor Sutija, CEO of NexWafe, said, “With its strategic partnership with NexWafe, Reliance can bring the latest in solar wafer innovation to India while also leveling the global playing field for photovoltaic manufacturers, expanding manufacturing beyond a single source market.”
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