A joint venture between SoftBank, Foxconn Technologies and Bharti Enterprises has received a huge boost in its standing in the rapidly growing Indian solar power market.
SB Cleantech secured 400 megawatts of solar power capacity in two auctions that offered a total of 750 megawatts of capacity at the Bhadla solar power park in Rajasthan, India. The company bid the lowest-ever tariffs for solar power projects in India in both the auctions.
The company secured rights to develop 100 megawatts of capacity out of the 250 megawatts offered by Adani Enterprises at the Bhadla solar power park. The capacity was allocated to SB Cleantech at Rs 2.63/kWh (4.1¢/kWh), one of the lowest tariffs in India at the time. Two days later, the company also won 300 megawatts of capacity offered by IL&FS, an infrastructure company at the same solar power park at Rs 2.45/kWh (3.8¢/kWh) another record low in India.
SoftBank has been bullish on the Indian solar power market and has pledged to invest $20 billion in developing solar power projects. The company secured its first solar power project in India in late 2015. The project was auctioned in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The company recently commissioned this project which, at 350 megawatts, is one of the largest solar power projects in India developed by a single company.
SoftBank is among several foreign companies that are looking to grab a large chunk of the Indian solar power market, which is expected to become the third largest in the world this year. Perhaps one of the factors that favors foreign developers is that they may find it easier to secure debt finance at much cheaper rates.
Indian banks continue to provide funding at interest rates that would render new solar power projects in the country financially unviable. Foreign development banks and multi-national banks like the Asian Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation offer loans at very cheap rates.
Thus, foreign developers could lead the Indian solar power market to even lower tariff bids in the near future.