Reliance Adds NexWafe In Strategic Bets with EUR 25 million Investment

Highlights :

  • Three days, investment number 3. Reliance Solar is well on its way to deliver on its promise of transforming India’s renewable sector.
  • The investments into cutting edge technology augur well for a better access to technology for India’s renewable sector.
Reliance Adds NexWafe In Strategic Bets with EUR 25 million Investment

Reliance Solar Energy Limited (RSEL), the subsidiary fronting renewable energy investments from Reliance Industries, has entered into an agreement with Germany-based NexWafe GmbH (NexWafe) for acquiring 86,887 series C preferred shares of face value of EUR 1 each.

RSEL will also be issued 36,201 warrants which are exercisable for a consideration of EUR 1 per warrant subject to achievement of agreed milestones, according to a regulatory filing by the conglomerate to the stock exchanges. Other investors joining Reliance in the Series C Round include InnoEnergy, Lynwood,Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and other incumbent and new investors, adding another nearly EUR 10 million ($12 million) to the round. Additionally, InnoEnergy, will also convert its current debt of EUR 4 million ($4.7 million) in NexWafe into equity at the same share price as the Series C Round shares.

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. NexWafe uses in-line manufacturing, both for the formation of an initial release layer as well as for epitaxial deposition of silicon in an atmospheric chemical vapor deposition process. NexWafe’s unique patented technology is expected to drastically cut wafer production costs, making solar photovoltaics the lowest-cost form of renewable energy available.

Following the template it started with its investment into Ambri Inc in August this year, RSEL and NexWafe also entered into an India Strategic Partnership Agreement for joint technology development and commercialization, – at scale of high-efficiency monocrystalline ‘green solar wafers’, according to the statement.

Under the  India Strategic Partnership Agreement, RSEL will secure access to NexWafe’s proprietary technology and plans to build large-scale wafer manufacturing facilities in India using the NexWafe processes and technology.

The investment by the Reliance arm will accelerate product and technology development for the Germany-based firm, including the completion of commercial development of NexWafe’s solar photovoltaics products on prototype lines in Freiburg, added Reliance in its statement.

Nexwafe’s EpiNex™ wafers are manufactured with precise thickness tolerances, using NexWafe’s multi-patented proprietary process. They offer high-efficiency, fully compatible drop-in replacements for cells produced by today’s high-efficiency HJT, Topcon and IBC manufacturing processes. The firm had hoped to start commercial production of these ultra-thin wafers of less than 90 microns thickness by 2024.

NexWafe is led by Davor Sutija, PhD, with Founder Frank Siebke continuing as CFO.

For Reliance, the NexWafe investment is falling well into the pattern that is beginning to emerge to puts its renewable energy plans into place. Be it the goal of making India a manufacturing hub, or building capacity capable of delivering 100 GW by 2030, the firm has followed an approach of high stakes in established players to serve as a quick entry into existing markets (Sterling and Wilson Solar, REC Group), and strategic bets on firms that could, with their technology, play a crucial role in the near future, with a focus on taking India rights for their products, so to say. These would be Ambri and Nexwafe now. Of course, three announcements since Sunday would indicate a lot more to come soon.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International