India’s Mukesh Ambani Goes Solar Shopping

Reliance Industries Acquires REC Group & 40% Stake In SWSL
06:06 PM (Beijing Time) - 11. October 2021
Presentation1

The Chinese ownership of REC Group of Norway has changed to Indian with the acquisition by Reliance Industries Limited. Pictured is REC’s integrated production facility in Singapore, which is planned to be expanded while new factories will be set up in USA and India. (Photo Credit: REC Solar Holdings AS

Key Takeaways

  • India’s RIL has acquired REC Group of Norway from its Chinese owner China National Bluestar
  • The $771 million deal will support REC Group to expand production capacity to over 5 GW over the next few years, and reach more markets globally
  • RIL has secured a ready global platform in solar PV technology manufacturing and will enable it to expand in markets as the US, Europe, Australia and Asia
  • The Indian company has also picked up 40% stake in Indian solar EPC company SWSL

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has taken over Norway based solar cell & module and polysilicon manufacturer REC Solar Holdings, as well as acquired a 40% stake in Indian solar EPC company Sterling and Wilson Solar Limited (SWSL).

With this acquisition of REC Solar, RIL has confirmed the rumors doing rounds back in July 2021 (see India’s Reliance Industries Eying Norway’s REC Group?).

RIL has made both the acquisitions through its subsidiary Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL). Heterojunction (HJT) technology specialist REC Group has been purchased for an enterprise value of $771 million from China National Bluestar (Group) Co. Ltd. REC’s planned expansions include 2 GW to 3 GW cell and module capacity in Singapore, a 1 GW module plant in the US, and a new 2 GW cells and module unit in France, which RNESL said it will strongly support (see France Opens Consultation For REC Group’s Panel Fab).

“REC’s production capacity has limited the company in serving more customers in more markets which demand its cutting-edge high-quality products. This new ownership will allow REC to rapidly boost its scale and better serve its increasing customer base and end consumers,” explained REC Group in a separate statement released adding that over the next 2 years to 3 years, this acquisition by Reliance will enable it to grow to over 5 GW capacity in Singapore, Europe and USA.

It will be interesting to see which solar cell technology REC will use for its expansion. While it has built a 600 MW HJT cell/module line based on Meyer Burger equipment and technology, the Swiss equipment maker has at some point decided to go captive, produce and sell its HJT modules on its own, and stop offering its n-type based HJT technology to any other companies. In May, REC announced a new p-type module under its TwinPeak series (see REC Group Unveils 4th Generation TwinPeak Panels). In July, REC announced a new n-type TOPCon module (see 2nd Generation N-Peak Solar Panel from REC Group).

RIL would do well with REC Group in its pocket as the Indian business group aims to establish 100 GW of ‘clean and green energy’ before the end of 2030 and turn net zero by 2035. It has committed to establishing 4 gigafactories in Gujarat’s Jamnagar—including one for an integrated solar PV module manufacturing with all the requisite steps from producing raw silica to rolling out ready solar modules (see Indian Billionaire Wants 4 New Energy Gigafactories).

REC Group’s addition will provide Reliance with a ‘ready global platform and an opportunity to expand and grow in key energy markets globally, including in the US, Europe, Australia and elsewhere in Asia’.

RIL management said it would use REC Group’s technology for its fully integrated, metallic silicon to PV module manufacturing giga factory at Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex in Jamnagar, planned to be launched with an initial annual capacity of 4 GW, and eventually growing it to 10 GW. The group will ‘subsequently replicate such complexes around the world’.

Chairman of RIL, Mukesh Ambani shared his company will continue to invest, build and collaborate with global players.

With a 40% stake in SWSL, acquired by RNESL from India’s Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Ltd (SPCPL), RIL has become the co-owner of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing solar EPC and O&M solutions companies.

SWSL has executed more than 11 GW worth of solar projects on turnkey basis, and to RIL it provides an opportunity to position itself as a one-stop-shop for solar modules and EPC service provider.

Ambani said, “SWSL, with its engineering talent, deep domain knowledge, global presence, and experience of executing some of the most complex projects globally, will become an important part of our solar value chain. This will enable us to deliver our comprehensive, end-to-end ecosystem leading to cost-efficient green energy for Indian consumers.”

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani