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Reliance Industries AGM 2022: RIL to build gigacomplex for power electronics

The gigafactory for power electronics will design and manufacture affordable and reliable power electronics, for telecommunications, cloud computing and IoT (internet of things) platforms.  

August 29, 2022 / 04:30 PM IST
Mukesh Ambani, chairman, RIL

Mukesh Ambani, chairman, RIL

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At Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) annual general meeting on Monday, Chairman Mukesh Ambani reiterated the company’s commitment to switching to greener fuel sources.

RIL will build a new gigafactory for power electronics that will design and manufacture affordable and reliable power electronics, for telecommunications, cloud computing and IoT (internet of things) platforms.

ALSO READ: Reliance Industries AGM 2022 | Plan to accelerate Rs 75,000 crore investment in new energy: Mukesh Ambani

Power electronics deals with processing of high voltages and currents to deliver power and is key to the global decarbonisation process.

In a live-streamed address, he said that the conglomerate’s new energy business is now “far more ambitious, transformational and global in scope that anything Reliance has done before.”


Four gigafactories

“Last year, we announced the Dhirubhai Ambani green energy giga complex in Jamnagar,” Ambani said, “We are going to establish four gigafactories - for photovoltaic cells, energy storage, green hydrogen, and for fuel cell systems.”

“Today, I would like to announce our new Giga Factory for Power Electronics. One of the key components linking the entire value chain of Green Energy is affordable and reliable power electronics,” he said.

Gigafactories are giant manufacturing sites that are capable of end-to-end production of thousands of gigawatts of energy, via a battery manufacturing process or other systems.

Ambani said that Reliance's “captive energy requirement across businesses provides us with a large base-load demand to support our plans to set up giga-scale manufacturing. It will accelerate our commitment to invest Rs 75,000 crore towards establishing our fully integrated new energy manufacturing ecosystem in Jamnagar.

“We will also be establishing 20 GW of solar energy generation capacity by 2025. This will be entirely consumed for our captive needs of round-the-clock (RTC) power and intermittent energy for green hydrogen. Once proven at scale, we are prepared to double the investment to scale up our manufacturing ecosystem.

RIL’s 10GW factory at Jamnagar will commence production by 2024 after which, it will scale up to 20GW annual capacity by 2026, Ambani said.

In October 2021, RIL subsidiary Reliance New Energy Solar acquired Norway’s REC Solar Holdings from China National Bluestar (Group) Co for an enterprise value of $771 million. This was the first major renewable energy deal for RIL, where an equipment manufacturing facility has been acquired. REC is the only company globally that has commercialised solar equipment technology which consumes 75 percent less power than Chinese competitors.

REC can currently produce 1.8 gigawatt (GW) of solar panels annually. It has around 10 GW of installed solar power generation capacity the world over.  On Monday, Ambani said that REC is aiming to extend the life of photovoltaic cells, used in solar panels, from the current 25 years to 50 years.

Green energy switch

Ambani said that in the last one year, RIL has extensively started consuming energy from biomass, using it to replace five percent of energy consumption at Dahej and Hazira. It has also reported a 352 percent jump in renewable energy consumption in the past year.

“Large businesses have a responsibility to solve the biggest and most complex challenges of the world,” Ambani said. “Decarbonising global economy will require $5 trillion a year globally. We are actively progressing on bio energy, offshore wind and other renewable energy platforms to further the green manufacturing ecosystem.”

An August report from HSBC Global Research said that RIL’s new energy value chain-related businesses are still at an early stage, and the company is only now amending its Memorandum of Association as it looks to scale up investments in.

“The investment in new energy so far has been limited. The company has completed acquisitions and investment of Rs 55 billion to build capabilities for new energy. It is developing an ecosystem of small and medium-sized enterprises to embrace new technologies and innovations,” the report said.

RIL commenced development of Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex on 5,000 acres in Jamnagar, which will be the largest integrated renewable energy manufacturing facility in the world.

Meanwhile, Ambani said RIL has a defined improvement roadmap in the PV industry, targeting to increase the HJT module efficiency to 26 percent by 2026 from the current 23 percent, and further improving it to 28 percent through innovations like perovskite-tandem cell technology. "Our 10GW solar PV cell and module factory at Jamnagar, based on REC technology, will commence production by 2024. And we are targeting to scale up to 20GW annual capacity in a phased manner by 2026."

Ambani said this would be the first of its kind of 'quartz-to-module' facility globally – from quartz, to metallurgical silicon, to polysilicon, to

ingots / wafers – and will integrate them with cells and modules.

(Disclaimer: Moneycontrol is a part of the Network18 group. Network18 is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.)
Tanya Thomas is Mumbai-based independent journalist.
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