Saudi Arabia and SoftBank sign $200bn deal for ‘world’s largest solar project’
Japan’s SoftBank Group and Saudi Arabia agreed to build a $200 billion solar power development in the kingdom, which will be the largest in the world, create thousands of jobs and cultivate a manufacturing industry in line with the kingdom’s economic diversification plans.
The agreement was concluded by SoftBank founder and Japan’s wealthiest man Masayoshi Son, and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who is on a three week visit to the United States.
The partnership is part of the collaboration between Softbank and Saudi Arabia, which has committed to invest as much as $45bn in a $100bn Softbank fund through its sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.
“This is the first big investment in the Saudi kingdom to create the world’s biggest solar power generation,” Mr Son said in New York where the agreement was announced. “This kind of project would have never been feasible without the big vision that we share with the crown prince.”
The project is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 which seeks to reduce the country’s reliance on oil and transform its economy. The overarching roadmap includes creating an industrial base, and the privatisation of state-owned entities such as Saudi Aramco which based on a $2 trillion valuation is set to be the world’s largest initial public offering when it is listed.
The 200 gigawatts solar power generation project will create clean, sustainable, and low cost renewable energy, Mr Son said.
“The kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land, and great engineers and great laborers. Most importantly the best and greatest vision,” he said. “With this scale of this specific project we can create the manufacturing facility inside the kingdom. We can create a factory inside the kingdom, so we can have the largest and newest technology.”