Softbank eyes Indian solar manufacturing in boost to Narendra Modi’s energy goal

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. is considering a manufacturing joint venture in India that could produce the solar panels needed to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s energy targets.

“SoftBank’s strategy for India includes solar panel manufacturing,” Manoj Kohli, executive chairman of SB Energy said in an interview in New Delhi. He ruled out making the panels through the company’s existing joint venture, formed last year with Foxconn Technology Group and Bharti Enterprises Pvt. to generate about 20 gigawatts of solar power.

While Modi seeks 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2022—a target second only to China—the country’s manufacturers will need to ramp-up production in order to tap into the growth. Only about 40% of India’s 1.2 gigawatts of annual solar-cell manufacturing capacity is operational, according to estimates by Bridge to India. Module manufacturing capacity is about 5.6 gigawatts, of which 60% capacity is operational.

 

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