Solar power plant. | Representative Image
On October 10, Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), announced its acquisition of Norway-headquartered REC Solar Holdings AS (REC Group). This is yet another step by RIL towards achieving the target it has set for itself of generating 100GW of renewable energy (or 22 percent of the national target) by 2030. Its impact goes way beyond the feel-good factor involved in an Indian company making a large global acquisition, and it will have a positive effect across sectors, across India, and will be a major catalyst in the production and consumption of renewable energy.
A fairer assessment mechanism of the significance of RIL bringing REC Solar Holdings within its fold would be to analyse whether the decision could substantially move the needle in terms of India’s transition to clean energy, and in providing a fillip to the Government of India’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India goals. As also in creating more new and better-quality jobs in India’s clean energy domain in future, and in an overall improvement in the quality of life of Indian citizens.
Be it on clean energy which in turn reduces the carbon footprint in the sector, sustainability and aligning with the government’s goals, RIL’s move scores well on all these parameters.
Through this deal, RIL would emerge as a global powerhouse in the manufacture of solar photovoltaics (PV) and, also, gain access to the critical heterojunction technology. This would place the company on a strong wicket to achieve its own plans in the renewable energy (RE) arena. More importantly, RIL’s decision could, by extension, ensure that India can get closer to realising the national ambition of generating 450GW of renewable energy by 2030. From a business point of view, other large Indian corporate groups would likely want to take a leaf out of RIL’s book and, also, aggressively pursue M&As to fast-track plans in the RE segment.
The Aatmanirbhar Bharat and ‘Make in India’ movements would stand to gain from the RIL’s acquisition of REC Solar through the possible development of a robust solar equipment manufacturing ecosystem in the country.
The same day as the RIL-REC came, RIL also announced that RNESL would acquire 40 percent of Sterling and Wilson Solar Ltd, a leading solar engineering, procurement, and constructions solutions provider.
Both these deals could mean that India’s dependence on China for solar equipment in the near future would reduce substantially, as it would also give a fillip to local manufacturing of components in the RE space. At a macro, geopolitical level, this would lessen the ability of our northern neighbour to stifle our progress in the clean energy domain. It may be relevant to point out here that 100 percent of REC Solar’s shareholding was held by Beijing-based China National Bluestar (Group) Co Ltd prior to RIL’s acquisition.
Judged from what it can do to improve the quality of life of an average citizen, the RIL-REC Solar deal could ensure that ‘Clean Energy for All’ does not remain an aspiration, but it becomes a reality for a majority of Indians sooner than later. Energy poverty, which, despite all the progress that India has made over the years, is a reality many face across India, could become a thing of the past soon.
Over the years, RIL has always stood out from its peers because of its willingness and ability to go the extra mile for addressing the issues that have a bearing on the lives of ordinary Indians—Reliance Jio is a stellar example of this. Its acquisition of REC Solar Holdings is in line with this philosophy, and is RIL’s Navratri gift to the people of India.
Sumali Moitra is a current affairs commentator. Twitter: @sumalimoitra.
Views are personal and do not represent the stand of this publication.Disclaimer:
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