Look! Saudi Arabia & SoftBank Plan World's Largest Solar Project

The agreement will drive investment in a series of solar parks across the kingdom to be built by 2030, capable of generating enough power for 150 million homes.

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.

In May 2017, SoftBank Vision Fund gathered over $93 billion from a group of investors including Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, Mubadala Investment Company, Apple Inc. and Foxconn Technology Group.

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.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son has a penchant for backing ambitious projects and the latest project to win his stamp of approval is what's billed as the "world's largest solar farm". SoftBank was said to be planning to invest as much as US$25 billion in Saudi Arabia over the next three to four years.

Vision Fund also plans investing 10 billion Dollars in state-controlled Saudi Electricity as part of efforts to diversify electricity production with renewable energy and solar power. "We have great sunshine, land and great engineers and labour", Prince Mohammed told reporters in NY, as quoted by Bloomberg. The massive scale of this project will create complete industries in Saudi Arabia for the manufacturing as well as installation of solar equipment. The venture also plans to build centers for research and development and education and training, he said.

Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Saudi-U.S. CEO Forum gathered American and Saudi business leaders in NY, where the kingdom announced about three dozen memorandums of understanding with U.S. firms, which are often the first step in establishing business ventures.

According to Bloomberg, the construction of such a large facility will require an investment of $200 billion. The fund is now closed.

  • Eleanor Harrison