SoftBank Group‘s SB Energy seeks 900 Gw solar sale in one go

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SB Energy, an arm of Japanese major in India, has asked the renewable energy ministry to auction 900 gigawatt (Gw) of in one go.

This is nine times the 100 Gw that the government is targeting by 2022.

The company expressed its request to expedite its planned investment of $1 trillion in the Indian solar sector, sources said.

has urged government officials to consider bulk tender for projects that are planned for the next 10 years. Senior officials, however, said there was no official request, but the firm had discussed the matter with the government. A spokesperson declined to comment on the matter in an emailed response.

The government plans to award 100 Gw of by 2022 under the National Solar Mission. Of this, 60 Gw is connected to the grid and the balance is off-grid, rooftop and other systems.

But not everyone is optimistic about SoftBank’s plan. The request was likely to be rejected since it did not make sense under Indian law to have a bulk tender of such a size, another official said.

“The China model of awarding bulk projects will not work in India for two reasons. One, domestic manufacturing cannot be scaled up so rapidly. Second, and more importantly, how will tariffs be discovered? Competitive bidding has brought down the price of solar power and stabilised it for now. But that cannot be the benchmark for the next 10-20 years,” he added.

had reportedly also lobbied for dollar tariffs in upcoming auctions of in India.

Currency fluctuations and allied risks, along with rules under the tariff policy, did not permit dollar-based tariff in India, officials said.

The government had earlier planned to introduce dollar-based tariff in solar energy to invite more foreign funds and to invest in India. The plan includes setting up a hedge security in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) to cushion against currency fluctuations. The plan did not fructify.