Reliance New Energy Solar will be the strategic lead investor for NexWafe’s €39 million (~$45 million) Series C financing round. InnoEnergy, Lynwood, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, and other incumbent and new investors participated in the funding round.
InnoEnergy is expected to convert its current debt of €4 million (~$4.7 million) in NexWafe into equity at the same share prices as the Series C round shares.
The fresh funding will help NexWafe accelerate product and technology development, including completing the commercial and development of its solar products on prototype lines in Freiburg.
The companies also signed an India Strategic Partnership Agreement for joint technology development and commercialization of high-efficiency monocrystalline solar wafers.
Reliance plans to build a large-scale wafer manufacturing facility in India using NexWafe’s processes and technology with this partnership.
NexWafe develops and produces monocrystalline silicon wafers from inexpensive raw materials, going directly from a gas phase to finished wafers. The process removes the need for costly and energy-intensive steps like polysilicon production and ingot pulling, which traditional wafer manufacturing relies on.
The solar wafer manufacturer uses in-line manufacturing to form an initial release layer and for epitaxial deposition of silicon in an atmospheric chemical vapor deposition process. It said its patented technology would cut wafer production costs, making solar photovoltaics the lowest-cost form of renewable energy available.
Bart Markus, Chairman of NexWafe, said Reliance’s commitment would help the company reshape and reinvent the silicon wafer and deploy high-efficiency photovoltaics at scale.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited, 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 efficiently.”
Reliance New Energy Solar also signed a cooperation agreement with Stiesdal to develop and manufacture Steisdal’s HydroGen Electrolyzers in India.
Stiesdal said that its HydroGen Electrolyzer technology is effective for green hydrogen production at a game-changing cost level. This will combine with Reliance’s expertise in innovation, project execution, and operational excellence to bring affordable green hydrogen to millions of Indians.
The companies will extend their collaboration to develop and implement other climate change technologies, including offshore wind energy, next-generation fuel cells for conversion of hydrogen to electricity, long-duration storage, and production of carbon-negative fuels.
The investment in NexWafe and collaboration with Stiesdal comes close on the heels of Reliance’s announcement to acquire a 40% stake in Sterling and Wilson Solar.
Earlier this month, Reliance New Energy acquired REC Solar Holdings from China National Bluestar Group for $771 million.
In June 2021, Mukesh Ambani announced that Reliance Industries would invest ₹750 billion (~$10 billion) to build an integrated solar PV factory, advanced energy storage battery manufacturing unit, green hydrogen, and fuel cell facility in Gujarat’s Jamnagar.