Published: Thu, March 29, 2018
Markets | By Terence Owen

SoftBank Inks Deal To Build World's Largest Solar Project In Saudi Arabia

SoftBank Inks Deal To Build World's Largest Solar Project In Saudi Arabia

Oil-rich - and sun-blessed - Saudi Arabia has pursued an increasingly ambitious renewables programme, including wind and solar tender rounds created to propel it to 9.5GW of renewable energy capacity by 2023.

The deal is the first major investment by the fund in Saudi Arabia. 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. Prince Mohammed stated: "It's a huge step in human history", adding "It's bold, risky and we hope we succeed doing that". That's about how long it's anticipated it will take to build out all 200 gigawatts of the project. About two-thirds of this energy was generated by natural gas and the rest by oil. "Saudi Arabia is targeting 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2023, to be achieved through projects created to localize the renewable energy value chain".

"The Kingdom has a lot of sunshine, a great deal for land, and great engineers, labor and, most importantly, the best vision for development", said Masayoshi Son.

The remaining $10 billion could be in Saudi Electricity Company.

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From previous year, Softbank is planning to work on several projects with Saudi Arabia which includes developing a new business "Neom" and industrial city in the country.

The project is planned for the Saudi desert and at 200 gigawatts, it's going to be 100 times larger than the next biggest proposed solar farm.

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. The sale of about a 5 per cent stake in oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co is expected to provide more funds.

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