SoftBank builds world's largest solar power plant

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said he envisions the project which runs the gamut from power generation to panel and equipment manufacturing as a way to help wean Saudi Arabia off its dependence on oil for electricity create as many as 100,000 jobs and
SoftBank's Son says to create world's biggest solar power company in Saudi Arabia
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29 March, 2018

The deal is just the latest in a number of announcements from Saudi Arabia, promising to scale up its access to renewable energy. Project finance will be sought for the remainder.

Costing $200 billion, the facility would generate 200 gigawatts of power-about 100 times more than any other planned solar plant. "It's a great step and is bold, risky".

The project is expected to build out all 200 gigawatts of the project by 2030, Masayoshi Sons said. About two-thirds of this energy was generated by natural gas and the rest by oil.

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Part of the investment will come from Softbank's $93bn Vision Fund, the largest ever private equity fund of which Saudi Arabia is the largest backer. "The Kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land, great laborers, and great engineers", "But most importantly it has the greatest vision", Son added. The Saudi state-owned investment fund, which has assets over 224 billion Dollars, invested around 54 billion Dollars past year. Although the kingdom has been endeavoring to enter the clean energy sector for years, it started working on the first projects only in 2017, gathering offers for a 300-megawatt plant in October. SoftBank is said to have aimed to deploy as much as US$15 billion in a new city called Neom, which the crown prince plans to build on the Red Sea coast.

Speaking to journalists in New York, Softbank chief executive officer Masayoshi Son described the solar plan as the "by far the largest solar project ever", according to video of the event distributed by Bloomberg. He established the Vision Fund, which, in conjunction with the Delta Fund set up to invest in Chinese ride-sharing firm Didi Chuxing, has funneled $27.5 billion into 20 tech firms as at the end of December. The sale of about 5% of the oil giant Saudi Aramco is expected to provide additional funds.


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