Softbank's CEO pledges to give India and other solar alliance members free power in 25 years


  • Masayoshi Son, has pledged to provide free solar energy to India and other members of the International Solar Alliance in 25 years.
  • Softbank’s contracts to supply energy to ISA countries via a power purchasing agreement expire in 25 years, after which the company would have recouped its solar energy investments.
  • Son’s announcement came against the backdrop of the inaugural meeting of the ISA in New Delhi.

In a move that is bound to get more countries to sign up for the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the CEO of Softbank, Masayoshi Son, has pledged to provide free solar energy to India and other members of alliance in 25 years. Son’s remarks came on 3 October at a renewable energy conference in India’s National Capital Region.

Softbank’s contracts to supply energy to ISA countries via a power purchasing agreement expire in 2043, hence the 25-year deadline. Son explained that while the lifespan of solar power projects extends to 80 years, they begin operating at a 85% of their original capacity after the first five years.

Hence, the bulk of earnings come in the first 25 years, after which it would become feasible to provide electricity at dramatically reduced rates since Softbank would have recouped its investment. In addition, producing solar power in India is a lot cheaper than in other countries.

In June this year, NHK, a Japanese broadcaster, reported that Softbank was planning to invest upto $100 billion in India’s solar energy sector. The investment was in addition to a $20 billion deal signed in 2015, wherein the technology firm agreed to partner with Foxconn and Bharti Enterprises for some solar energy projects.

The ISA was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2015 at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris. Headquartered in India, the alliance has invited 121 countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to sign up. However, only 70 countries have signed the ISA founding agreement, out of which 47 have ratified it.

Son’s announcement came against the backdrop of an inaugural meeting of the ISA in New Delhi. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was in attendance. As part of his keynote speech, Modi said that he envisioned the ISA becoming an energy cartel like the OPEC group.
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