EXCLUSIVE | SoftBank Chief Masayoshi Son May Meet PM Modi For Rs 4 Lakh Crore Solar Investment Plans
SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son is expected to land in India next week for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss his multi-billion dollar investment plans in the country’s solar energy sector, an official familiar with the development told Moneycontrol. The Japanese giant plans to invest $60 billion (Rs 4.02 lakh crore) in manufacturing solar equipment as well as the generation of the renewable power against the promise of a sovereign guarantee from the government.
The group, whose investments in India include Paytm, Ola and Oyo, plans to pump in the money by 2030 with prospects of generating jobs for 2,00,000 people.
“Of the $60 billion (Rs 4.02 lakh crore), as much as $45 billion -50 billion (Rs 3.02 lakh crore-3.35 lakh crore) is proposed to go into the manufacturing of solar cells and modules. A large amount of this will go into making storage products. Rest $10 billion -15 billion will go into a generation of solar power,” the official said.
The official said while the demand for a sovereign guarantee was being discussed at the highest levels amongst the various ministries, it was unlikely to find acceptance.
He said Son, who is also SoftBank’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, is expected in India between June 10 and June 17 and a meeting with Modi is on the cards. The official said SoftBank is promising to invest big money in making batteries and other storage products, the missing link in the Indian solar sector.
Currently, SoftBank’s investments in the Indian energy sector are routes through its vehicle called SB Energy. It’s a three-way joint venture of the Japanese major, Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises and Foxconn Technology Group, the Taiwanese company famous as a manufacturer of Apple’s iPhones.
Manoj Kohli, the former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Airtel, Bharti Enterprise’s listed mobile business, is the Executive Chairman of SB Energy.
SoftBank is betting big on India’s solar energy sector where the government push for renewables has eliminated the gap between the cost of power from conventional and renewable sources. Currently, SB Energy bids for tenders, floated by various state governments under the Central government’s National Solar Mission, to set up solar projects. The tender is awarded to the lowest bidder for a 25-year tariff.
The Modi government aims to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2022. Of this, 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bioenergy and 5 GW from small hydropower plants (plants up to 25 MW in capacity) is targeted.
The year 2016 was the first time when the annual renewable power capacity addition exceeded that of thermal sources. As on April 30 this year, India had a total installed power capacity of 343,788 MW. Of this, renewable had a share of 20 per cent.