October 3, 2018 / 6:56 AM / 17 days ago

SoftBank proposes to offer free power to solar alliance

(Reuters) - Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) has proposed to offer free electricity, after 25 years, to International Solar Alliance (IS) member-countries that sign power purchase agreements (PPA), Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said at a renewable energy conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

“I will give free power from solar power projects after 25 years of PAP to all IS member countries. We are investing in tech and innovation so that we can harness solar energy efficiently,” Son said on Wednesday, without elaborating further.

Efficiency of solar modules decreases over time, which in turn reduces margins for producers. Son pegs the lifespan of solar power plants at around 80 years.

Solar power producers and financiers across the world are betting on falling costs of storage of energy and increasing efficiency of solar panels.

“It is not a dream. We now have the resource to make this happen,” he said.

However, solar tariffs have been falling in large markets such as India, and an impetus on protecting local manufacturing units by imposing import duties threaten to increase costs and squeeze margins for local producers.

SoftBank said in 2015 that it would foray into India’s solar energy market and invest up to $20 billion along with Foxconn Technology and Bharti Enterprises, aiming a capacity of up to 20 gigawatts.

(This story was refiled to correct abbreviation of power purchase agreement to PPA, not PAP.)

Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan in New Delhi; Writing by Sharnya G; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Vyas Mohan

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