Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL), a new subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has signed definitive agreements to acquire UK-based Faradion for ₹1,005 crore enterprise value. It will be the sixth deal of the company to bridge the gaps in RIL's renewable energy portfolio. The oil-to-4G major is in the process of investing ₹75,000 crore to build 100 giga watt (GW) renewable capacity.

RNESL will also invest ₹251 crore as growth capital in Faradion to accelerate commercial roll out. Based out of Sheffield and Oxford in UK and with its patented sodium-ion battery technology, Faradion is known globally for its battery technologies. It has an extensive intellectual property (IP) portfolio in the technology, which will be used at the proposed energy storage giga-factory of RNESL at Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex project at Jamnagar.

With four back-to-back deals in October, billionaire Mukesh Ambani's RIL pivoted for a disruptive foray into the renewable energy space. It was an indication that the newly floated RNESL would acquire technologies to make headway before building the four giga factories in Jamnagar, Gujarat. RIL targets a 100-GW renewable energy addition by 2030 and plans to invest ₹60,000 crore in building giga factories by 2024.

The Norway-based REC Solar Holdings AS—in which RNESL acquired the entire stake for ₹5,782 crore—is known for its technological innovations and superior, high efficiency and long-life solar cells and panels for clean and affordable solar power. The 25-year-old company has three manufacturing facilities—two in Norway for making solar-grade polysilicon and one in Singapore, making PV cells and modules. REC has over 600 utility and design patents, of which 446 are granted and balances are under evaluation.

In Sterling & Wilson Solar Ltd, RNESL has agreed to acquire a 40% stake for ₹2,850 crore — as it is one of the leading global engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and operation and maintenance (O&M) companies in the renewables sector.

RNESL agreed to invest ₹337 crore in German firm NexWafe as it will get access to processes and technologies to manufacture solar wafers. It plans to build large-scale solar wafer manufacturing facilities as part of giga factories. RNESL will also support NexWafe in completing the commercial development of the latter's solar photovoltaic products on prototype lines in Freiburg. The companies will jointly develop technologies and commercialise monocrystalline 'green solar wafers' in India.

In the fourth deal, RNESL signed a cooperation agreement with Denmark-based Stiesdal A/S for technology development, and manufacturing of HydroGen Electrolyzers in India. One of giga factories will manufacture HydroGen Electrolyzers. RNESL and Stiesdal have also agreed to extend their collaboration to the development and implementation of other path-breaking climate change technologies — including offshore wind energy, next-generation fuel cells for conversion of hydrogen to electricity for mobile and static electricity generation, long-duration energy storage and production of carbon-negative fuels.

In August, RNESL along with strategic investors Paulson & Co Inc and Bill Gates, and a few other investors, had announced an investment of $144 million in Ambri Inc, an energy storage company based in Massachusetts, US.

The giga factories will manufacture and integrate all critical components of the new energy ecosystem — solar photovoltaic module factory, energy storage battery factory, electrolyser factory, fuel cell factory. The industry experts expect more acquisitions and cooperation agreements as RNESL build its giga factories.

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