SoftBank and Essel to develop 500 MW solar park


SB Energy, a renewable energy arm of Japanese giant SoftBank’s operations in India, will work with Essel Infraprojects to develop a 500 MW solar park in Rajasthan.

The arrangement will enable Softbank Group to expand its portfolio and expedite plans to invest $1 trillion (Rs7.35 million crore) in India’s solar sector by 2030.

Though the details of the deal have not been released, the influx of funds will reduce the time needed to build the plant, from an estimated 12-15 months to less than six.

SB Energy has already won bids for 1.4 GW of projects in India, including a 300 MW slice of the Bhadla III Solar Park in Rajasthan. Essel Infra’s current solar capacity is 680 MW, of which nearly 160 MW is operational.

SoftBank will hope for better luck finding a partner

Last month, SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son offered to supply free electricity once SB Energy’s 25-year PPAs finish.

In May, SoftBank Group had announced plans to work with Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) to develop more than 20 GW of PV capacity in India by 2025, but the woes of its now-crippled Indian partner meant the deal fell through.

In June 2015, SoftBank had joined forces with Taiwan’s Foxconn and Bharti Enterprises to form SBG Cleantech – now known as SB Energy – and committed $20 billion for investment in Indian solar.

“Of the 100 GW target set by India, the SoftBank venture will look at solar power generation of 20 GW. The investment will be made through the next 10 years,” Mr. Son said, at the launch of the three-way joint venture.

In December 2015, SB Energy made its India debut by winning a 350 MW project in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district. The plant was commissioned in March 2017, 51 days ahead of schedule.

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