SB Energy Corp., the renewable energy unit of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, has set out to invest in South Korea’s solar plants as part of efforts to further its clean energy ambitions.
SB Energy said on Friday it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Daemyung GN consortium to invest in a smart solar farm to be built in Yeongdeok County, North Gyeongsang Province. The actual amount of funding would be decided upon further negotiations.
The Korean solar energy company Daemyung GN, together with Intromedic, LS Industrial Systems and Korea East-West Power plan to inject 1 trillion won ($928.5 million) to set up a 300-megawatt (MW) solar power station on a 46-hectare smart farm. The consortium first expects to spend 12 billion won to construct a 2MW power station and two smart grid test beds by the end of the year.
Shigeki Miwa, the chief executive of SB Energy, hinted at the MOU ceremony that the company is considering a long-term plan to invest in renewable energy on the Korean Peninsula. He said SB Energy could build a 30-gigawatt (GW) alternative energy power station on a 5,000-hectare farm grid if the two Koreas achieve lasting peace, and outlined further details in the agreement. The investment, if realized, would amount to nearly 100 trillion won and would be capable of generating enough electricity to replace about 21 1.4GW nuclear reactors.
SoftBank Group entered the alternative energy business in 2011 after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which hastened the country’s push into renewables. In March, CEO Masayoshi Son, a Japanese businessman of Korean descent, met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and struck a $200 billion deal to build what would be the world’s largest solar power plant by 2030, with a full capacity of 200GW.
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