Saudi Arabia allies with SoftBank on whopping 200-GW solar plan

Solar park. Author: iamme ubeyou. License: CC0 1.0 Universal.

March 28 (Renewables Now) - Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank Corp (TYO:9984) has signed a preliminary pact with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to form a solar power generation company that will install 200 GW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the Kingdom by 2030.

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 New York. The proposed solar project is estimated to cost USD 200 billion (EUR 161.4bn) and will be the single largest of its kind in the world, the partners said at a press conference.

The proposed solar capacity will be installed in phases and will be spread throughout Saudi Arabia. Its initial phase will be for 7.2 GW of plants that will require an investment of USD 5 billion, with USD 1 billion of that sum coming from Softbank’s Vision Fund. Due diligence on the project is expected to be finalised by the end of May, CNBC reported.

A battery storage component, as well as a manufacturing base for solar panels in Saudi Arabia, are also part of the huge project, seen to open as many as 100,000 jobs and save the Kingdom USD 40 billion of power production costs, Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son said.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund is among the investors of Softbank's USD-100-billion Vision Fund.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.807)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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