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

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. It would in theory be fully built by 2030.

The deal was signed on the sidelines of a United States visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has undertaken a whirlwind of economic and social reforms.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son revealed the project Tuesday in NY at a ceremony with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The SoftBank's 200 gigawatts, which will be built in the Saudi desert, will be one hundred times larger than the next largest solar park project, and is expected to produce more than the total energy delivered by the global solar industry a year ago.

CNBC reported that the project includes the building of solar parks, integrating battery technology, and constructing a massive new facility that will integrate solar equipment manufacturing.

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Last May, SoftBank announced it raised over $93 billion for the Vision Fund, the world's largest private equity fund with backers including Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, Apple and Foxconn.

"These two visions have come together to create clean, sustainable, low-priced and productive renewable energy", he said.

"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.

According to Masayoshi, the project is likely to reduce power costs by $40 billion and create around 100,000 jobs. That's a boost for Prince Mohammed, who's been at the forefront of the Vision 2030 campaign to diversify the kingdom's economy away from oil by that year. "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 project cost will be around $200 billion.

  • Rita Burton