Published: Thu, March 29, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

SoftBank, Saudi Arabia announce massive US$200B solar power project

SoftBank, Saudi Arabia announce massive US$200B solar power project

Saudi Arabia has signed a memorandum of understanding with SoftBank Group for a $200 billion solar power project in the kingdom, calling it the single largest of its kind in the world. "But 200 GW by 2030 though, that's another question", Kiernan said.

The Saudi crown prince has been trying to wean the country off its addiction to oil and diversify the economy into new areas.

In May 2017, SoftBank Vision Fund gathered over $93 billion from a group of investors including Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, Mubadala Investment Company, Apple Inc. and Foxconn Technology Group. It is expected to grow into a $200 billion behemoth that provides about 200 gigawatts of power by 2030, he added-more power than Saudi Arabia would. The rest will come from loans that will be paid off through revenue generated by selling electricity from the vast solar project, Son said.

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"You have never seen something of this scale", he is reported as saying.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman told the event sealing a memorandum of understanding that the solar build plan marked "a huge step in human history".

Vision Fund also plans investing 10 billion Dollars in state-controlled Saudi Electricity as part of efforts to diversify electricity production with renewable energy and solar power. "The Kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land, and great engineers, great neighbors, but most importantly, the best and greatest vision".

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In theory, one gigawatt can power 725,000 homes, meaning the completed solar plant will have the capacity to power 145 million households, although actual output varies depending on weather conditions.

According to Masayoshi, the project is likely to reduce power costs by $40 billion and create around 100,000 jobs. Out of this, about $15 billion could be potentially invested in Neom-a futuristic project that Saudi Arabia plans to erect on the Red Sea Coast.

The Saudi investment is Softbank's second major global solar project. Unconfirmed reports emerged last year that the Japanese investment firm is planning to pump in over $25 billion over the next three to four years.

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A statement released previous year in October by PIF revealed that a MoU had been signed to create the "Solar Energy Plan 2030" which would happen through the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).

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