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[TOKYO] Japan's SoftBank Group Corp said on Thursday it is forming a joint venture with Sharp Corp in the solar power plant business, a move that could give a boost to Sharp's ailing solar panel operations.
The joint venture, which will be launched in December, will offer panel installation and maintenance services, initially to some 30 solar power plants operated by SoftBank's solar energy subsidiary in Japan, the telecoms group said.
Once a global leader in solar panels, Sharp is struggling to turn around the loss-making business due to fierce competition with Asian rivals.
SoftBank will own a majority of the new firm, which is expected to have capital of around $1 million, the company said.
SoftBank entered the solar power business in 2011 after the massive earthquake in Japan that year convinced Chairman Masayoshi Son of the importance of renewable energy. The group has also expressed its interest in the solar business in India.