Bookmark and Share

What is Softbank smoking by planning to make solar panels in India?

1 Comment

Softbank to set up Solar manufacturing in India

Softbank the Japanese technology giant, which made a mountain of money by buying a stake in Alibaba at its inception is looking to make another major diversification. The company which has moved from being a telecom provider and angel investor into semiconductor design is planning another big business entry. It plans to produce solar panels in India to serve its solar development arm, which it formed in India as a JV with Foxconn and Bharti group. Why Softbank moved into the heavily commoditized and competitive solar development in India is a mystery to me. The company has a lofty target of installing 10 GW of solar energy in India, though it has achieved only 350 MW till date after 2 years of huffing and puffing with two other major partners. Solar development is not lucrative, given the low entry barriers and huge amount of competition.

Also read Another Foreign Company looks to invest in the huge and growing Solar Market in India

Now the company wants to go into solar panel production which makes me think that their strategic brass has gone completely bonders. Thousands of western companies have gone bankrupt in this business, as heavily subsidized giant Chinese companies have almost taken the price of solar panels near zero. Solar panel prices have gone down by almost 90% over the last 5 years, leading to billions of dollars in writedowns and bankruptcies of multi billion dollar companies. It is a graveyard but still Softbank wants to go and dig its own plot.

Maybe its another announcement without any basis, as the company may be trying to score brownie points with the Indian government which is looking to promote its “Made in India” policy, or the company may be trying it hand at another part of the solar supply chain given that it has not found much success in solar development. Acme, Adani, Tata, Azure Power and others have much bigger pipelines with Softbank being a very distant ran.

“SoftBank’s strategy for India includes solar panel manufacturing,” Manoj Kohli, executive chairman of SB Energy said in an interview in New Delhi. He ruled out making the panels through the company’s existing joint venture, formed last year with Foxconn Technology Group and Bharti Enterprises Pvt. to generate about 20 gigawatts of solar power.



Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Radhakrishnan Mundoli

    Remember SunEdison Huffing and puffing about their tie up with Adani fro solar cell and module manufacturing. Both companies got great mileage of this “intentional proclamation”. However one went bankrupt. Are you by any chance forecasting, Sneha?