SoftBank Commits To World's Largest Solar Farm Worth $200 Billion

Marcus Newton
March 29, 2018

The deal is another major Saudi project that promises to boost its access to renewable energy sources.

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.

"It's a huge step in human history", Prince Mohammed said.

The solar project is expected to generate at capacity 200 gigawatts of energy, which is far more than any solar project in existence produces. About two-thirds of this energy was generated by natural gas and the rest by oil.

The solar project will provide 100,000 jobs to people and it will also increase Saudi's gross domestic product by $12 billion. Adding 200 GW would create enormous excess capacity that could be exported to neighbours or used by industry, although the kingdom will still require other forms of power generation for night-time back-up.

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The ample sunshine and land and Saudi Arabia's pool of engineers and skilled workers make the foray into solar there lucrative, Son said.

The generation parks will be located around Saudi Arabia, as the kingdom attempts to move away from a reliance on oil and broaden its reach into tech.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son established the Vision Fund, in concurrence with the Delta Fund set up to invest in Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, has funnelled $27.5 billion. SoftBank is said to have aimed to deploy as much as US$15 billion in a new city called Neom, which the crown prince plans to build on the Red Sea coast.

The corresponding memorandum of intent was signed in NY by Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund is the largest investor in Softbank's $100 billion Vision Fund. The electricity demand in the country has grown by 9% a year since 2000.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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