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SoftBank unit to enter clean energy retail business in Japan

Bloomberg

SoftBank Corp.’s clean energy unit will enter the retail power business this year to sell renewable energy such as solar and wind.

SB Power Corp. wants to start selling power to businesses in the Northern Hemisphere’s spring, Kenichi Yuasa, a spokesman for Tokyo-based SoftBank, said by phone Friday.

“The use of clean energy won’t spread unless it is distributed by retail,” Yuasa said. “We decided to do distribution ourselves rather than letting someone else be in charge.”

SB Power, a wholly owned unit of SB Energy Corp. that develops clean energy projects for SoftBank, registered with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as a power producer and supplier last year, according to Yuasa.

The new venture is looking for customers and plans to sell clean energy produced by SoftBank or other developers, he said. The company may also get supply from power producers using natural gas, Yuasa said.

The Nikkei newspaper, which reported the plan earlier Friday, said that SoftBank also plans to sell power to households in 2016 when the power market is wholly liberalized. No decision has been made in that regard, Yuasa said, adding that SoftBank may consider expanding to homes later.

SB Energy plans to develop 290 megawatts of solar and wind projects by the end of fiscal 2015, according to the spokesman. Some of the projects have begun operating and a 42.9-megawatt solar plant in western Japan will start Saturday.