Indian minister touts solar opportunity for Japanese firms

Japan's Softbank, which has major solar plans in India, will also soon close on a US$100 billion technology fund. Twitter: Piyush Goyal

India’s expected four-fold rise in energy demand over the next 15 years will open “immense business opportunities” for Japan in the energy sector in India, according to Indian energy and mines minister Piyush Goyal.

Today, Goyal met with Japan’s minister for economy, trade and industry, Hiroshige Seko, at the 7th India-Japan Energy Forum in New Delhi.

Encouraging India-Japan cooperation, Goyal is looking to bring Japanese expertise in engineering and technology to India in order to enhance grid stability – a major upcoming bottleneck for solar in India – and to introduce affordable electric transport.

Analyst firms widely expect India to race into third place in the global solar deployment rankings in 2017 by taking over Japan, which has been a staple solar market for some time, but which does not currently have the same pace of growth as India.

However, Goyal also said that India’s rapid renewables boom will need stabilising through gas and coal-based power, both of which can benefit from more cooperation with Japan. He said that as India has a price-sensitive market, it cannot afford expensive power generation so the balance between renewables and conventional generation needs attention.

Japanese firm Softbank has already expressed its mission to add 20GW of solar power in India through partnership with Bharti Enterprises and Foxconn. A Softbank spokesman told PV Tech that the firm will soon close on a US$100 billion technology fund, having attracted investment from various internatinal heavyweight companies and certain sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East. However, the spokesman did not confrim whether the fund will relate to the firm’s solar plans within India, despite other reports suggesting this is the case.

It was Softbank’s huge announcement of plans to enter the Indian solar market that kicked off a spurt of key investment plan announcements from foreign firms back in the second half of 2015.

Tags: japan, india, piyush goyal, softbank, delhi, sfi con india