SoftBank builds world's largest solar power plant

29 March, 2018, 02:08 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • Soft Bank Group Corp is seen at the company's headquarters in Tokyo

Saudi Arabia and Japanese telecom giant-turned-tech investor SoftBank expanded their partnership on Tuesday, announcing the world's biggest solar power generation project at a press conference in NY. That's about how long it's anticipated it will take to build out all 200 gigawatts of the project.

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.

The first solar panels will be imported from an established manufacturer, Son said, but all the equipment for the project will be manufactured in Saudi Arabia after the first couple of years. Son said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday evening to build a $200 billion biggest solar power project in Saudi Arabia.

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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.

"You have never seen something of this scale", he is reported as saying. Prince Mohammed stated: "It's a huge step in human history", adding "It's bold, risky and we hope we succeed doing that".

As per the agreement, two solar plants with a capacity of 3 gigawatts and 4.2 gigawatts will be launched by 2019. It is also expected to save the kingdom $40 billion by obviating the need to burn domestically produced oil to generate power.

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The solar project will provide 100,000 jobs to people and it will also increase Saudi's gross domestic product by $12 billion.

From previous year, Softbank is planning to work on several projects with Saudi Arabia which includes developing a new business "Neom" and industrial city in the country. SoftBank's Vision Fund will give $1 billion for the first phase. The $100bn fund is dedicated to technological investments and has poured money into industry disruptors like Uber, chipmaker Nvidia and Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart.

Last year, Saudi Arabia pledged $45 billion to invest in technology companies around the world. The electricity demand in the country has grown by 9% a year since 2000.

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