Economy

Saudi Arabia, SoftBank announce $200 billion solar project

Saudi Arabia, SoftBank announce $200 billion solar project

Japanese telecom giant Softbank Group and Saudi Arabia have agreed to work jointly on what is to be one of the world's largest solar power generation projects.

The huge project will be partially bankrolled by the massive $93 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, of which Saudi Arabia is the biggest backer. "The Kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land, great laborers, and great engineers", "But most importantly it has the greatest vision", Son added.

The project is expected to build out all 200 gigawatts of the project by 2030, Masayoshi Sons said.

The solar panels for the project will be imported at first, but will later include a panel manufacturing and assembly site, according to Son.

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.

The construction will begin immediately, meaning electricity generation will start in 2019.

Saudi Arabia, SoftBank announce $200 billion solar project
Saudi Arabia, SoftBank announce $200 billion solar project

The estimated $200 billion project cost includes building the solar parks, integrating battery technology and constructing a massive new facility that will vertically integrate solar equipment manufacturing, according to Son.

The announcement could boost confidence in the crown prince's efforts to attract billions in foreign investment during his US tour after the unprecedented arrest of hundreds of top figures in Saudi Arabia, including prices, business moguls and military officers past year.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and the SoftBank Vision Fund on Tuesday during an official visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in NY.

The deal is the first major investment by the fund in Saudi Arabia.

Last year, Saudi Arabia pledged $45 billion to invest in technology companies around the world.

The projects are expected to create an estimated 100,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia and boost Saudi Arabia's GDP by an estimated $40 billion annually.

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