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Softbank’s Son Supports Lower Premium Tariffs for Solar Energy

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Softbank Corp., a mobile-phone provider that’s also developing solar-power stations, would support lower premium payments for solar energy as installation costs drop, according to the company’s president.

“Procurement costs for solar plants are falling,” Masayoshi Son said today at a press conference in Tokyo. “It is fair and appropriate for the tariff to be reduced accordingly.”

Japan started an incentive program for clean energy in July and a government-appointed panel is discussing tariffs for applications from April 1. Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said this month the so-called feed-in tariff for solar plants could be cut to about 35 yen (38 cents) to 39 yen a kilowatt-hour. The current rate is 42 yen a kilowatt-hour for 20 years.

Softbank has begun operating four solar-power stations in Japan since July, Naoki Nakayama, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based company, said yesterday by telephone. It will continue investing in the industry, Son said today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net; Shunichi Ozasa in Tokyo at sozasa@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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