In late June, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) and the richest person in India, revealed that his organization will invest US$8.1 billion over the next three years to develop manufacturing capacity for a wide range of green energy products. These include PV modules, energy storage batteries, modular electrolyzers, and fuel cells. Ambani said that RIL will “establish and enable at least 100GW of solar energy by 2030”.
With Ambani’s announcement, RIL, which is one of the world’s largest multinational conglomerate, has formally crossed into the field of new energy technologies. The strategy adopted by the organization is also extremely ambitious as it covers several major supply chains (i.e., solar PV, energy storage, hydrogen production, and fuel cells). According to reporting by renewable energy news outlets, RIL will be involved in both manufacturing and integration of key components for many new energy products.
Ambani said that the US$8.1 billion investment will be used to build four “gigafactories” (or GW-level production plants) that respectively manufacture PV modules, energy storage batteries, green hydrogen, and hydrogen fuel cells. Regarding the solar gigafactory, it will be an integrated manufacturing hub for PV products (i.e., the site will accommodate process lines for polysilicon, silicon ingot, silicon wafers, PV cells, and PV modules). Preliminary works have also begun for the solar gigafactory that is located in Jamnagar, a port city in the Indian state of Gujarat.
RIL has already established a presence in different sectors of the wider energy industry, including the solar PV sector. It has also been a major infrastructure developer in India and is especially dominant in the domestic telecommunication industry. Therefore, it has the resources and expertise to expand into sectors pertaining to clean and renewable energies. Reports and analyses published in various energy news platforms indicate that the conglomerate is looking into opportunities related to utility-scale energy storage systems. It plans to team up with other battery manufacturers to develop integrated solutions (i.e., those that encompass generation, storage, and transmission) that ensure a stable electricity supply 24/7 regardless of weather conditions.
Ambani is also very bullish on green hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells. He reportedly said that the proposed gigafactory for green hydrogen will not only meet domestic demand but also export hydrogen fuel to other countries. He further pointed out that besides powering cars and trucks, fuel cells can serve as stationary power supply units for data centers, telecom towers, etc.