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Softbank’s Gigantic Solar Plans Go Up in Smoke

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Softbank has often made grandiose out of the world plans of installing and manufacturing tens of gigawatts of solar panels in different countries. Softbank had first come up with a plan 5 years ago to set up and install more than 20 GW of solar power plants in India along with manufacturing. While the company has set up a couple of gigawatts of solar power plants, it is nowhere near the target of 10 GW and manufacturing is nowhere in the scene. While Softbank has been prolific in investing in technology companies and startups, its plans in the energy space have not really scaled up except making big plans on paper without any follow-up.

The latest solar plan of Softbank to go up in smoke is the “200 GW” solar capacity it intended to set up in the Saudi Arabian kingdom. Masayoshi Son had planned this huge capacity in association with the Saudi government which also has been making grandiose plans such as setting up a greenfield high technology city with an investment of $500 billion. As per the latest news, the Saudi government has officially canceled the 200 GW solar capacity plan that was made by Softbank.

There is nothing much to lose as there were no large-scale teams or any investment anyway. I don’t think there was much detailed analysis or due diligence on what the Saudi kingdom would do with the 200 GW of solar capacity anyway. Though the kingdom is growing rapidly with huge energy requirements that need to be moved away from oil, 200 GW was still an overkill by a long way. Manufacturing of solar panels for the plants would also not have been of much use as it could be bought from Asian players at much cheaper rates given their scale and overcapacity.

First Solar Solar Panels

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

In June, the company announced that it would invest $60-100 billion to build large solar power projects in India. It also announced an MOU with GCL to set up manufacturing plants in India. However, all those plans have also not gone anywhere as they remain on paper as always. Softbank has been getting a strong blowback in India where the Indian power minister recently said that the company along with other large solar developer had formed a cartel to raise power price during recently held auctions.


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

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