Japan’s SoftBank-led $20 billion boost to India’s solar projects

The sun is set to shine brighter on India’s renewable energy plans. In the single largest investment in India’s renewable sector, Japan’s telecom and internet giant SoftBank, along with India’s Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, will invest about $20 billion in the country’s solar projects over the next 10 years.

 The newly founded joint venture – SBG Cleantech Ltd — will be headquartered in New Delhi. It will be led by Manoj Kohli, a Bharti Group veteran who has led the group’s emerging businesses, as an executive chairman. The company plans to generate about 20 gigawatts of energy.  SoftBank will have major stakes in the joint venture, while Bharti and Foxconn will join in as minority stakeholders. The exact details of the stake haven’t been decided yet.

 “India has two times the sunshine (of) Japan. The cost of construction of the solar park is half of Japan. Twice the sunshine, half the cost, that means four times the efficiency,” said Softbank’s Chief Executive Masayoshi Son.

Mr Masayoshi said that the project would begin as soon as state and central government give a green signal. The company will scout for land in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, and then will consider other states also.

Lately, India has stepped up its efforts to encourage investment in renewable energy sector. Despite enjoying sunshine for more than 300 days a year, India heavily relies on coal for three-fifths of its energy needs. Solar energy currently contributes less than 1 percent to India’s energy demands.

 India’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi vows to make India one of the world’s largest renewable energy generators, with a plan to scale up from just 3,000 MW to to 100,000 MW by 2022. Considering the target, the venture aims to invest and develop renewable energy plants all across India. Foxconn will help with planned solar equipment for the projects.

 SoftBank had earlier announced that it would invest $10 billion in India’s telecom and e-commerce segment over the next few years. The company has invested $1 billion in Indian market in the last nine months.


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