SoftBank, Sharp Form Joint Venture To Offer Solar EPC Services

Japan’s telecom group Softbank intends to expand its diversification in the solar power sector and offer engineering, procurement and construction services through a new Joint Venture (JV) with Sharp Corporation.

Both the Japanese firms are expected to form a joint venture in December with an estimated capital of around USD $1 million. SoftBank’s SB Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Softbank, would be the majority stakeholder in the JV.

The partners also plan to offer operation and maintenance services for the solar power projects. Initially, O&M services will be offered to the SoftBank’s existing solar power projects and later services will be extended to other solar projects as well.

According to SB Energy spokesman Kenichi Yuasa, JV will source the service and logistics of both the firms directly to cut installation costs by 10% and maintenance costs by 30%. The joint venture company will offer maintenance and inspection services using information technologies for remote, centralized monitoring of multiple power plants.

SoftBank currently operates solar projects in more than 30 locations worldwide. The company is steadily increasing its footprint in the emerging Asian market. Recently, it floated a new company – SBJ Cleantech – with Foxconn and India’s Bharti Enterprises. SBJ Cleantech will invest $20 billion in the Indian solar power market with an aim to install at least 20 GW capacity.

This partnership will probably help Sharp revive its ailing solar module manufacturing business. Sharp, which has been developing solar panels since 1959, stopped manufacturing panels at plants in the US and UK last year. The company had posted a loss at its business in the first quarter of 2015 as sales dropped by almost half.

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A young solar enthusiast from India keeping an eye on all regulatory, policy and market updates from one of the fastest emerging solar power markets in the world.