Saudi Arabia, Softbank, sign $200bn deal to build world's largest solar park

Saudi Arabia, Softbank, sign $200bn deal to build world's largest solar park

Saudi Arabia, Softbank, sign $200bn deal to build world's largest solar park

"However, there seems no obvious reason why 200GW by 2030 is impossible if Saudi Arabia needs the daytime electricity; the solar industry can deliver it, Softbank has an appetite for making investments", Chase continued by email.

The farm, which could cost $200 billion would be partially bankrolled by Japanese SoftBank and would involve the construction of solar parks throughout Saudi Arabia and a large battery to store the energy generated by the panels.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and the SoftBank Vision Fund are coming together to make this project a reality.

The project is in co-operation with the kingdom's young and powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a partner in the SoftBank Vision Fund, set up in 2016.

SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son told reporters that the solar push is "by far the largest solar power project ever".

Expanding into renewable energy is a key part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, a plan spearheaded by Prince Mohammed to diversify the nation's oil-dependent economy. "We have great sunshine, land and great engineers and labour", Prince Mohammed told reporters in NY, as quoted by Bloomberg. If built, the development would nearly triple Saudi Arabia's electricity generation capacity, which stood at 77 gigawatts in 2016, according to BNEF data.

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That will include training facilities and a research and development center "so the new technology will continue to evolve", Son said.

At 200 gigawatts, the Softbank project planned for the Saudi desert would be about 100 times larger than the next biggest proposed development and a third more than what the global photovoltaic industry supplied worldwide a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The Saudi investment is Softbank's second major global solar project.

"Importantly, these projects will help create up to 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Kingdom".

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is on a three-week tour of the United States, his first visit since being designated the successor of his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz. The fund has already invested in companies in the U.S., India and Europe. The fund is now closed.

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