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What is funny about Softbank’s 20000000000 dollar Solar energy investment in India

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Softbank Solar Investment in India

India has become a hot magnet for large massive investment announcements in solar energy by companies, as the country aims to install a very ambitious 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 up from about 3.8 GW now. The company’s government organized a renewable energy conference in Feb 2015 in which companies such as SunEdison, Adanis, First Solar made announcements to set up tens of thousands of megawatts of solar and wind energy. But like the MOUs signed in investment summits, these announcements are mostly hollow and India might be lucky to see a fraction of these investments actually fructifying.

Now Softbank the glamorous Japanese conglomerate has also made a grandiose announcement of setting up a $20 billion investment in India’s RE sector. It has also lined up the Taiwanese electronics OEM giant Foxconn and India’s largest telecom operator Airtel to join it in a JV. What is funny is these three companies have very little experience in solar or wind energy. These companies have hardly done much in solar energy. Softbank’s claim to fame in solar energy is been to invest in Japanese solar farms which every Tom Dick and Harry in Japan has done because of the fabulous returns being given by the Japanese government. Like Softbank, a Japanese gaming parlor company has also invested in solar farms. Airtel does not know shit from a telecom handset and a solar panel, while Foxconn does not have much of a clue either. Foxconn 2-3 years ago has announced plans to set up massive gigawatt solar panel factories but till now has not set up even a 1 MW factory.

These companies now plan to invest $20 billion which seems very funny to me. These companies also plan to set up a panel manufacturing plant in AP. I have no clue why they want to do it, given that they have no experience or expertise. Why not just buy the panels from outside. These companies may build some plants but $20 billion looks like a pipedream and I think that even these companies know this.

This article is written by Sandeep Gupta. Working as a corporate professional, Sandeep has a passion for Solar in India.



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