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

SoftBank's Son says to create world's biggest solar power company in Saudi Arabia

Japanese telecom investor Softbank and Saudi Arabia, announced the world's biggest solar power generation project at a press conference in NY.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Son signed a memorandum of understanding between Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and the SoftBank Vision Fund on Tuesday evening, which kick starts the process of forming a new power generation company.

The project is expected to have the capacity to produce up to 200 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son told reporters in NY. If the farm is built, it would nearly triple Saudi Arabia's electricity generation capacity two-thirds of which is now accounted for by natural gas and the rest by oil.

The plants are expected to have a total capacity of 200 gigawatts - equivalent to that of about 200 nuclear reactors.

The deal is the latest in a number of eye-popping announcements from Saudi Arabia promising to scale up its access to renewables.

"It's a huge step in human history", Prince Mohammed said.

The Softbank Vision Fund will begin a major investment partnership with Saudi Arabia that could see 200GW of solar generation capacity installed. The push into solar power is part of Saudi Arabia's ongoing strategy to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. SoftBank was said to be planning to invest as much as US$25 billion in Saudi Arabia over the next three to four years.

The ample sunshine and land and Saudi Arabia's pool of engineers and skilled workers make the foray into solar there lucrative, Son said. 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.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) invested about $54 billion past year according to data from the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. The sale of about 5% of the oil giant Saudi Aramco is expected to provide additional funds.

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