- RIL has announced plans to enter integrated solar PV manufacturing on a gigafactory level
- The solar PV fab will produce all material from raw silica to high efficiency modules
- It also wants to set up 3 other gigafactories for energy storage, electrolyzer production, and fuel cells
- Company wants to support these fabs with infrastructure and utilities to manufacture ancillary material and equipment
- RIL will also be setting up Renewable Energy Project Management and Construction Division and Renewable Energy Project Finance Division as new platforms
Diversified Indian business conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has announced its grand plans to build 4 massive gigafactories as part of its New Energy Business strategy, all located in Jamnagar, Gujarat, in a major thrust of the group into renewable energy.
The 4 gigafactories will comprise an integrated solar PV module factory, advanced energy storage battery factory, electrolyzer factory and fuel cell factory. All of these will be part of the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex to be spread on 5,000 acres in Jamnagar which RIL said will be among the largest such integrated renewable energy manufacturing facilities in the world.
RIL estimates an investment of INR 600 billion ($8.1 billion) on these initiatives, and adding up another INR 150 billion ($2.02 million) on the value chain, partnerships and future technologies, altogether adding up to INR 750 billion ($10.11 billion) over the next 3 years, as it aims to become net carbon zero company by 2035.
“Our first Integrated Solar Photovoltaic Giga Factory will create solar energy. We will start with raw silica and convert this to poly silicon which we will then convert to ingot and wafers. These wafers would be used to make high efficiency solar cells and finally assembled into solar modules of highest quality and durability,” announced RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani during his address to shareholders at the company’s 44th annual general meeting (AGM) held virtually.
Ambani further added that out of 450 GW of renewable energy capacity that India plans to achieve by 2030, RIL will ‘establish and enable at least’ 100 GW of solar energy by 2030. “A significant part of this will come from rooftop solar and decentralised solar installations in villages. These will bring enormous benefits and prosperity to rural India,” he added.
To put things into perspective, under India’s national solar energy ambitions, the country wants to achieve 100 GW of solar power generation capacity by December 31, 2022 out of which 60 GW is planned to come from large scale solar, and 40 GW from rooftop solar. By 2030, solar energy should account for 280 GW out of a 450 GW target, according to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). Till the end of May 2021, India’s total installed solar power capacity was 41.09 GW, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), which leaves a long way to go.
For its Advanced Energy Storage Giga Factory, RIL plans to collaborate with global leaders in battery technology to explore new and advanced electro chemical technologies that can be deployed for such large-scale grid batteries.
Eying the opportunity the need for various energy guzzling industries to decarbonize provides, Ambani wants to set up an Electrolyzer Giga Factory to manufacture modular electrolyzers of highest efficiency and lowest capital cost for captive production of green hydrogen for domestic use and exports. A Fuel Cell Giga Factory will also be built to generate electricity from air and hydrogen.
RIL said it will also provide infrastructure and utilities to manufacture ancillary material and equipment to support the 4 gigafactories, and also support independent manufacturers to be part of the ecosystem.
Ambani said the group will establish a new Renewable Energy Project Management and Construction division to provide GW scale end-to-end solutions for large renewable energy plants globally. He explained that this division will ‘enable and partner with thousands of Green MSME Entrepreneurs, who can deploy kW to MW scale solutions in agriculture, industry, residences and transportation’.
Another business division it will create under its New Energy Plan is Renewable Energy Project Finance Division to provide financial solutions to stakeholders.
RIL’s massive renewable energy plans make it a direct competitor of another Indian business house with big renewable energy ambitions, Gautam Adani led Adani Group that’s already into solar PV manufacturing space in Gujarat. In May 2021, Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank backed renewable energy platform SB Energy chose Adani Green Energy to its sell 5 GW renewable energy portfolio, including 4.18 GW solar capacity (see Adani To Acquire 5 GW India RE Portfolio From SB Energy).
With this, RIL adds itself to the list of companies that have expressed interest in entering/expanding solar PV manufacturing in India post the Indian government’s introduction of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme (see India Details Production Linked Incentive Scheme For Solar).