Freiburg (Germany): NexWafe GmbH (NexWafe) on Tuesday announced the induction of Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, as a strategic lead investor in its 39 million euros ($45 million) Series C financing round with an investment of 25 million euros ($29 million) in phase one.
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.
Reliance and NexWafe have also entered into an India Strategic Partnership Agreement providing for joint technology development and commercialisation, at scale, of high- efficiency monocrystalline “green solar wafers”.
Reliance, through this partnership, 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.
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 vapour deposition process.
Its patented technology is expected to drastically cut wafer production costs, making solar photovoltaics the lowest-cost form of renewable energy available.
Reliance’s investment in NexWafe further underscores its goal of making India the world’s leading green energy provider by leapfrogging existing technology, thus creating the world’s most cost- and energy-efficient photovoltaic process at scale.
RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani 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 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 realise the benefits of solar energy more quickly and more efficiently.
“For Reliance, our foray into solar and other types of renewable energy is much more than a business opportunity. It is our way of caring for Planet Earth and contributing to the global mission of saving it from the looming climate crisis.”
NexWafe CEO Davor Sutija 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 10 million euros ($12 million) to the round. Additionally, InnoEnergy, will also convert its current debt of 4 million euros ($4.7 million) in NexWafe into equity at the same share price as the Series C Round shares.
ACXIT Capital Partners are acting as the exclusive financial advisor to NexWafe. International law firms GORG and Raeder are acting as legal counsel to the company.
Linklaters acted as the legal advisor and Deloitte as the accounting and tax advisor to Reliance on this transaction.