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Japan's SoftBank Wins its First Solar Project in India

Business Standard:  December, 2015

New Delhi: Marking its debut in the Indian solar industry post its investment announcement of $20 billion, Japan’s SoftBank won its first 350 Mw solar power project in Andhra Pradesh through its joint venture company - SBG Cleantech.

SBG Cleantech bid the lowest tariff of Rs 4.63 per unit to win the entire tendered capacity of 350 Mw. This is the lowest bid in this year for solar power. Last month, US SunEdison won 500 Mw solar power park in Andhra Pradesh at the same tariff rate.

Among the others who were in fray were Indiabulls' Yarrow Infrastructure, Azure Power India, Reliance CleanGen, Goldman Sachs backed ReNew Power and two others.

SoftBank tied up with Foxconn and Bharti Enterprises in June this year to invest in the Indian solar energy sector committing a whooping $20 billion. This is its second bid participation after AP solar park and the first win for any power project through its joint venture SBG Cleantech.

“SoftBank is surely establishing itself as a serious and competitive player in the market. The company is likely to be a strong contender in the upcoming national bids as well,” said Jasmeet Khurana, Associate Director – Consulting at Bridge to India.

SBG Cleantech has Bharti veterans Manoj Kohli as executive chairman and Raman Nanda as chief executive officer. The company is headquartered in New Delhi.

“Of the 100-Gw target set by the PM, the SoftBank venture will look at solar power generation of 20 Gw. The investment will be made through the next 10 years. 

Acceleration will depend on the support of the central government, the local governments and NTPC,” Masayoshi Son has said in June during the launch of the joint venture.

Market experts said the recent bids show that there are only about 10-12 developers who have the appetite to continuously try and take up large projects at current tariff levels, which has gone sub Rs 5 per unit.

“The government and power distribution companies must be happy about the results and this might actually be good for continued policy support for new allocations across India. With such results, the states are likely to be much more willing to allocate land to solar parks and take the NSM route to attract solar investments,” said Khurana.