Reliance New Energy Solar to invest $29 million in German wafer manufacturer NexWafe


Reliance New Energy Solar Limited (RNESL), an arm of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited, has raised a stake in Germany-based silicon wafer manufacturer NexWafe GmbH as a strategic lead investor.

The company led NexWafe’s EUR 39 million ($45 million) Series C financing round with an investment of EUR 25 million ($29 million) in phase one. 

Reliance New Energy Solar Limited will acquire 86,887 series C preferred shares of the face value of EUR 1 each of NexWafe at a price of EUR 287.73 per share aggregating to EUR 25 million. It will also be issued 36,201 warrants, which are exercisable for a consideration of EUR 1 per warrant subject to achievement of agreed milestones. The transaction is proposed to be completed by end of October 2021,” Reliance New Energy Solar stated in a BSE filing.

NexWafe claims its technology can produce ultrathin monocrystalline solar wafers while ensuring cost- and energy-efficiency. It will use the investment by Reliance to accelerate its proprietary wafer technology development and commercial production on prototype lines in Freiburg, Germany. 

Reliance and NexWafe also signed a deal for joint technology development and commercialization, at scale, of high-efficiency monocrystalline “green solar wafers.” Reliance, through this partnership, will use NexWafe technology in its proposed large-scale wafer manufacturing facilities in India. 

NexWafe technology

NexWafe develops and produces monocrystalline silicon wafers grown directly from inexpensive raw materials. The continuous, direct gas-to-wafer manufacturing process obviates the need for costly and energy-intensive intermediate steps such as polysilicon production and ingot pulling on which traditional wafer manufacturing relies. The process also minimizes wastage, cutting wafer production costs by up to 30%. It also offers a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions during manufacturing.

NexWafe claims its process is ultra-scalable and fully compatible with conventional solar cell manufacturing.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited said, “We at Reliance have always believed in being ahead of the technology curve in all our businesses. Our partnership with NexWafe testifies to this yet again, as we embark on an ambitious mission to meet the affordable green energy needs of India’s rapidly growing economy. Our investment in NexWafe signals an important step towards accelerating India’s green energy transition and positioning India as a global leader in photovoltaic manufacturing. 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.” 

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.” 

NexWafe Chairman Bart Markus added: “Reliance is famed for its ability to create quality products at the most competitive prices, so its commitment to helping us reshape and reinvent the silicon wafer will be, we believe, game-changing for helping the world deploy high-efficiency photovoltaics at scale.” 

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. 

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