NexWafe GmbH 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. It’s an intriguing concept for reducing the embodied carbon of solar PV modules. The company is closer to commercialization now as Reliance New Energy Solar Limited (RNESL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (Reliance), became a strategic lead investor.
The investment by Reliance in this Series C round 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 commercialization, 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.
Product details: 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 vapor deposition process. NexWafe’s unique 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 also shows that India is making a play to become a leading green energy provider by leapfrogging existing technology.
“We at Reliance have always believed in being ahead of the technology curve in all our businesses,” stated Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries Limited. “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 realize 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.”
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.”
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. Additionally, InnoEnergy, will also convert its current debt of EUR 4 million ($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 GÖRG and Raeder are acting as legal counsel to the company.
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