Reliance to Foray into Solar, Battery Storage, Green Hydrogen, and Fuel Cell Production
The four manufacturing units of gigawatt-scale will be located in Jamnagar, the base of Reliance Industries’ energy business
Reliance Industries (RIL) will invest ₹750 billion (~$10 billion) to build an integrated solar photovoltaic (PV) factory, advanced energy storage battery manufacturing unit, green hydrogen, and fuel cell facility in Gujarat’s Jamnagar. The plans were announced by the Chairman, Managing Director, and largest shareholder of RIL, Mukesh Ambani, during the 44th Annual General Meeting of the shareholders.
Ambani informed his shareholders that RIL has started developing the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex on 5,000 acres of land in Jamnagar. The project is slated to be amongst the largest such integrated renewable energy manufacturing facilities globally.
RIL has plans to build four factories of gigawatt-scale that will manufacture and fully integrate critical components of the ‘new energy’ ecosystem.
One of them would be an integrated solar PV module factory. The first integrated solar PV gigawatt factory will start with converting raw silica to polysilicon, which we will then convert to ingot and wafers. These wafers would be used to make high-efficiency solar cells and finally assembled into high-efficiency solar modules.
The second set-up is meant for housing an advanced energy storage battery factory. RIL is exploring new and advanced electrochemical technologies that can be used for such large-scale grid batteries to store energy. The company plans to collaborate with global leaders in battery technology to achieve the highest reliability for round-the-clock power availability through a combination of generation, storage, and grid connectivity.
The third unit – an electrolyzer factory – would be used to produce green hydrogen. According to the company, green hydrogen is a unique energy vector that can enable deep decarbonization of many sectors such as transportation, industry, and power. One of the most common methods of generating green hydrogen is by electrolysis of pure water through electrolyzers. RIL will set up an electrolyzer gigawatt factory to manufacture modular electrolyzers of the highest efficiency and lowest capital cost. These can be used for captive production of green hydrogen for domestic use and global sale.
The fourth facility – a fuel cell factory – would convert hydrogen into motive and stationary power. “In the new era, fuel cells will progressively replace internal combustion engines. Fuel cell engines can power automobiles, trucks, and buses. They can also be used in stationary applications for powering data centers, telecom towers, emergency generators, and microgrids and industrial equipment,” Ambani said.
RIL would invest the amounts in these initiatives over the next three years to realize an end-to-end renewable energy ecosystem.
The Jamnagar complex will provide infrastructure and utilities to manufacture ancillary material and equipment needed to support these gigawatt factories to ensure all critical materials are available in time. RIL will also lend support to independent manufacturers with the right capabilities to be part of the ecosystem.
“RIL would invest an additional ₹150 billion (~$2.02 billion) in the renewables value chain, partnerships, and future technologies, including upstream and downstream industries. “Our overall initial investment from our internal resources in the new energy business will be ₹750 billion (~$10.11 billion) in three years,” Ambani added.
RIL also has plans to build two additional divisions.
The ‘Renewable Energy Project Management and Construction Division’ will provide gigawatt-scale end-to-end solutions for large renewable plants across the world. It will enable and partner with thousands of green micro, small and medium enterprise entrepreneurs, who can deploy kilowatt to megawatt-scale solutions in agriculture, industry, residences, and transportation.
The Renewable Energy Project Finance Division will provide financial solutions to the stakeholders providing a platform to source long-term global capital for green investments at attractive terms.
Ambani said, “We will seek support from our relationship banks and global green funds for this purpose. Simultaneously, we will also facilitate a platform to provide financing for the entire ecosystem of small businesses and entrepreneurs who invest alongside us.”
In 2017, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) provided a loan to the tune of ₹3 billion (~$45.7 million) to Reliance Money, a brand by Reliance Commercial Finance Limited, a subsidiary of Reliance Capital Limited- part of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) – for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. To date, Reliance Commercial Finance Limited has financed or co-financed renewable energy projects of more than 1,800 MW, including both wind and solar energy projects, according to the company.
The previous renewable energy investment of RIL was the acquisition of Kanoda Energy Systems a company with a presence in the fields of solar advisory, product design, and technology validation, engineering, procurement & construction, and operation & maintenance (O&M) of solar projects.
With the announcement of the production-linked incentive program of the government, large conglomerates are joining the renewable energy manufacturing drive.
Rahul is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before entering the world of renewables, Rahul was head of the Gujarat bureau for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Hailing from a banking and finance background, Rahul has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.