Free power from solar energy is a reality now.

“I will give free power from Solar Power Projects after 25 years of PPA to all International Solar Alliance (ISA) member countries, said Masayoshi Son, Chief Executive Officer, SoftBank Group during 2nd Global RE-INVEST India-ISA Partnership Renewable Energy Investors Meet & Expo few days back.

He further said that “We investing in tech and innovation so that we can harness solar energy efficiency to provide free power to children, mothers, and communities across the world. It`s not a dream, we now have the resources to make this happen.” Repeating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of “one world, one sun, one grid”, Son said renewable energy can be easily shared internationally if electricity, like internet, can be interconnected through wired networks.

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization of solar-rich countries between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.

“Money is not an issue. Technology is not an issue any more,” Son said. “I will have recouped my investment during the PPA period. I have to pay back to the society after that,” he said.

Son said solar panels can be potentially maintained for a period of 80 years. During the first 25 years, when the plant runs at 100-90% efficiency, the efficiency reduces to around 85% beyond that time and then remains stable for a period of 55 years, Son said.

“We understand technology, we understand how to make it happen. We have money, technology is not an issue. As long as there is sunshine, we can make it happen,” Son said.

Son was addressing the second edition of the government’s flagship renewable energy event Re-invest on Wednesday.

Son said petrol prices had risen 20% in barely one year, and renewable energy is the cheapest and safest mode of energy security for a country like India.

Son said he was gravely affected by the nuclear plant tragedy in Fukushima, Japan in 2011, which led him to work towards leveraging cleaner, safer forms of energy.

Softbank is present in India’s renewable energy space through SB Energy, its joint venture with India’s Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology.

“I would like to help PM Modi’s vision of 200 GW (renewable energy capacity) by 2020 and 500 GW by 2030. I said, ‘This is fantastic! Let’s do it together’,” Son said. ET reported on May 4 that SoftBank has proposed a $1-trillion investment in India’s solar energy space.

“I chose India as a destination to invest in renewable energy because India has great sunshine, enough land and supportive government policy,” Son said on Wednesday.

SoftBank created the $100-billion Vision Fund last year, and Son said he was dissuaded from it on the grounds that there were not enough areas to invest in. “I am proving them wrong,” he said.

Further to Son’s statement, the government may also take a cue and make it a part of the PPA, said an executive of a leading IPP. “This is something that anybody can offer. If it is SoftBank, they should have offered something only they could,” the executive said, requesting anonymity. SoftBank has picked up stakes in Indian startups, including Ola, Paytm and Oyo Rooms.

Many in the renewable energy sector had doubts about Son’s idea of providing free power for a period of 55 years. “Solar technology is constantly evolving with progressive improvements in efficiency and cost reduction. In 25 years time, we believe that investors would prefer to make investments in new technologies rather than struggle to maintain outdated plants,” said Vinay Rustagi, managing director, Bridge to India.

Further to Son’s statement, the government may also take a cue and make it a part of the PPA, said an executive of a leading IPP. “This is something that anybody can offer. If it is SoftBank, they should have offered something only they could,” the executive said, requesting anonymity.

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