SoftBank Offers Free Power to ISA States After 25-Year Deals

(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Corp. has pledged to provide free solar power from its projects in International Solar Alliance countries after the developments recoup their initial investments.

Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son told a conference Wednesday in New Delhi that power from the projects will be free after the end of the initial 25-year power purchase agreements. The expected life of the plants could be as long as 100 years and the only maintenance costs would be cleaning the panels, which could be done by robotics, he said.

“I have this special offer which I discussed with Prime Minister Modi,” Son said. “I will offer free electricity after 25 years.”

Son said he also continues to support the development of an international power grid as a way to harness solar power globally, and that India needs large-scale energy storage to support its renewable goals.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the day before made a similar assessment of India’s storage needs and said the country has the potential to attract $80 billion in renewable power investments. The nation aims to boost its use of renewable power to meet climate change goals and clear the air in some of the world’s most polluted cities.

“Renewable energy is the solution” for air pollution, Son said. "Prime Minister Modi and I share exactly, exactly the same vision.”

India’s efforts to boost solar power have hit a potential speed bump as the country earlier this year imposed a 25 percent safeguard duty on Chinese equipment.

The ISA, launched at the Paris climate talks in 2015, aims to organize $1 trillion in low-cost financing for solar energy projects by 2030 in sunlight-rich but power-poor countries around the equator.

SoftBank joint-venture in India, SBG Cleantech Ltd., last year won at least two tenders to develop a combined 500 megawatts of solar power. In March, SoftBank and Chinese energy conglomerate announced plans to produce and sell solar equipment in India.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.