Japan’s Softbank group has decided to tap the Indian government’s thrust towards clean energy to get over its dependence on highly polluting coal-fired power plants.
The Japanese conglomerate has decided to invest US$60-100 billion in solar power generation in India, reports Reuters. SoftBank and the Indian government are expected to make an announcement soon after final arrangements are made.
In 2015 SoftBank pledged to invest $20 billion in Indian solar projects with a goal of generating 20 gigawatts (GW) of energy as the majority partner in a joint venture with India’s Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn. Last month it had secured 200 megawatts of solar capacity at an auction in Karnataka state, home to well-known software giants like Infosys and Wipro.
India has set a target to achieve an operational solar-power capacity of 100GW by 2022, five times the current level, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s renewable energy strategy. Coal still accounts for 58% of India’s power, while wind provides 10% and solar 5%.
India has approved plans for numerous solar parks and most of them lie in its northern deserts and southern scrubland, with many foreign companies vying for pieces of this vast solar market.
Its largest solar park, spread over 20 square miles, is being developed in Pavagada, in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district. It was partly opened in December last year and generates 600 megawatts of power. Once it is fully functional next year, it should produce about 2,000MW.