REC opens global export opportunity for RIL’s solar business

Solar power plant.

New Delhi, (Asian independent) REC is the only company globally to commercialise tech that consumes 75 per cent less power than the Chinese companies.

RIL acquired REC Group, an integrated solar PV maker, for S$771m. REC is the only player globally to commercialise a tech that consumes 75 per cent less power than the Chinese companies. It has patented tech and opens up the export market for RIL’s solar business, Jefferies said in a report.

REC Group is an integrated solar PV module maker starting from Si (except wafers). It uses a proprietary tech for polysilicon manufacturing that has a high monocrystalline yield. REC’s integrated model is in line with RIL’s aspiration for a similar integrated operation.

Polysilicon is the basic building block of the solar PV module. Power cost is 40 per cent of polysilicon production cost. REC has implemented the Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) tech for producing polysilicon on a commercial scale. The FBR process consumes 75-80 per cent less energy than the traditional Siemens process that Chinese players use.

The report said REC’s plants have a long operating history of reliability and quality. REC owns patents across its tech. The FBR tech is very difficult to stabilize and is protected by many patents. REC owns 446 patents over the polysilicon, cell and module production process. It pioneered half cut PERC cells that have been adopted as the industry norm. Its heterojunction (HJT) modules are rated among the highest efficiency globally.

Despite its energy cost savings, FBR has seen limited adoption because of challenges with stabilising the technology and achieving high yields. REC managed to stabilize a new plant in China within six months of commercialisation, demonstrating its tech leadership.

The report said REC opens global export opportunities for RIL. REC’s current capacity is 1.5 GW with plans to add 5-6 GW across Singapore, France and the US. RIL intends to set up 10 GW in Jamnagar using REC’s technology. REC’s long operating history in Europe and the US opens up the possibility of RIL exporting to these geographies after achieving an operating track record of efficiency and reliability.