Saudi Arabia and SoftBank plan world's largest solar project
Saudi Arabia and SoftBank plan world's largest solar project
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, Saudi Arabia to create world's biggest solar power generation project
29 March, 2018, 02:07
If built, the farm would almost triple the country's electricity generation capacity, which stood at 77GW in 2016 and is comprised entirely of natural gas and oil.
The announcement could boost confidence in the crown prince's efforts to attract billions in foreign investment during his USA tour after the unprecedented arrest of hundreds of top figures in Saudi Arabia, including prices, business moguls and military officers previous year. The remainder will come from loans to be paid off via revenue that is generated through selling electricity that the huge solar project produces, said Son.
The solar panels for the project will be imported at first, but will later include a panel manufacturing and assembly site, according to Son.
The Saudi crown prince has been trying to wean the country off its addiction to oil and diversify the economy into new areas. "We have great sunshine, land and great engineers and labour", Prince Mohammed told reporters in NY, as quoted by Bloomberg.
Included in that would be training facilities, and a complete research and development center in order that new technology can continue to evolve.
By 2030 the kingdom expects solar panels with a capacity of 200GW to roll out across the Saudi Arabia, which is more than triple the UK's total installed power capacity. The remaining $10 billion could be in Saudi Electricity Company. If built, the development would nearly triple Saudi Arabia's electricity generation capacity, which stood at 77 gigawatts in 2016, according to BNEF data.
Son predicts that this project is going to create up to 100,000 jobs in the Kingdom and save it $40 billion in power costs.
The fund, which was at $93 billion, reached its target after raising $7 billion from US corporates and managers of the Vision Fund in the last few months, according to a source familiar with the fund. It was announced in NY after a Saudi-U.S. CEO forum held on the sidelines of the crown prince's multi-day tour across the U.S. The 32-year-old king-in-waiting and a Saudi delegation are cementing ties with the Trump administration and lining up American investors as the kingdom embarks upon an ambitious plan to diversify its economy.
In 2017, Saudi Arabia made a pledge of $45 billion for investing in tech companies across the globe, and is also attempting to create a home-based thriving startup scene. The fund is now closed.
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