SoftBank and Saudi Arabia are creating a huge solar power generation project


The final investment total for the 200 GW of generation, including the solar panels, battery storage and a manufacturing facility for panels in Saudi Arabia, will eventually total around $200bn, Son said. The Crown Prince reportedly said, "It's a huge step in human history.It's bold, risky, and we hope we succeed doing that".

The initial phase of the project, for 7.2 GW of solar capacity, will cost $5bn, with $1bn coming from SoftBank's Vision Fund and the rest from project financing, he said.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, known for backing ambitious endeavors with flair, unveiled the project Tuesday in NY at a ceremony with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. While the kingdom has for years sought to get a foothold in clean energy, it's was only in 2017 that ministers moved forward with the first projects, collecting bids for a 300-megawatt plant in October. The venture also plans to build centers for research and development and education and training, he said.

Softbank and Saudi Arabia have reached an agreement to launch a massive solar power project, one that if completed would signal a dramatic ramping up of the renewable energy industry in one of the world's most suitable spots for solar power. It would provide enough electricity to simultaneously power about 20 billion LED light bulbs. He and Son signed the memorandum of understanding in NY on Tuesday.

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The project is consistent with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 - the Kingdom's long-term strategy to wean itself off oil revenues and diversify its economy. Those efforts have included high-profile investments in technology and plans for a vast new $500 billion city.

Last May, Softbank said it raised over $93bn for the Vision Fund, the world's largest private equity fund with backers including Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, Apple Inc and Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry.

According to the memorandum, there could be a possibility of exporting either panels or some of the power generated by them. It would also create 100,000 jobs, and more than triple the nation's existing energy generation capacity of 77 gigawatts.