Reliance New Energy eyes 2 more buyouts

Reliance New Energy
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Reliance New Energy

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At advance stage of acquiring a German maker of photovoltaic solar wafers and NexWafe

New Delhi: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries (RIL) will buy a German maker of photovoltaic solar wafers and signed a deal with a Danish firm to manufacture hydrogen electrolysers as the oil-to-retail conglomerate acquired end-to-end technology for its multi-billion-dollar clean energy portfolio.

Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL), a unit of the nation's most valuable company, will acquire NexWafe GmbH for 25 million euros (Rs 218 crore), Reliance said in a late stock exchange filing on Tuesday.

It will also license Stiesdal A/S's technology for the hydrolysers, it said in a separate statement. The deals come within three days of Reliance announcing two back-to-back acquisitions - a $ 771 million buyout of Norway-based solar panel manufacturer REC Solar Holdings and purchase of a 40 per cent stake in Shapoorji Pallonji Group's Sterling & Wilson Solar.

The acquisitions and tie-ups in the new energy business put in place the initial building blocks of technology and expertise that Reliance needs to set up the four proposed Giga factories in the coming years.

The collaboration with Denmark-based Stiesdal provides access to technology for producing hydrogen electrolysers in India and this partnership could potentially be extended to obtain technology for fuel cells too.

This completes the technology requirement for end-to-end solar PV module manufacturing.

Reliance said the technologies result in a significantly lower cost of production compared to existing technologies in the market (NexWafe's wafers are 30 per cent less expensive than conventional wafers). The company aims to spend $10 billion over the next three years in setting up an integrated solar photovoltaic module factory, an advanced energy storage battery factory for storage of intermittent energy, an electrolyser factory for the production of green hydrogen, and a fuel cell factory for converting hydrogen into motive and stationary power.

Electrolysers are used for producing green hydrogen (through the electrolysis of water). Stiesdal's technology has the potential to deliver significant cost reduction compared to currently available technologies. Reliance is targeting manufacturing green hydrogen for $1 per kg in a decade compared to the current cost of $5 for the industry.

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