Although Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s sunniest countries, its solar power footprint is minuscule. This project, to a big extent, diversifies it economy, greenifies and balances its power generation industry which traditionally has been largely oil-fired power.
As per SoftBank Group Corp’s CEO, as a result of its Vision Fund’s investment in a solar power generation company in Saudi Arabia, it will create a company that will be the world’s biggest produce of solar energy.
The project is expected to generate 200 gigawatts (GW) of power by 2020 and will add to its nearly 400 GW of globally installed power capacity, said Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son to reporters in New York.
This is comparable to the world’s total nuclear power capacity of around 390 GW as of the end of 2016.
Son went on to add, the initial phase of the project will cost $5 billion and will generate 7.2GW of solar power, with $1 billion coming from Softbank’s Vision Fund and the balance from the project’s financing. For generating 200GW of power, the total size of the investment, including for battery storage, solar panels and building the manufacturing facility for the panels in Saudi Arabia will cost nearly $200 billion, said Son.
In May 2017, SoftBank had announced it had raised more than $93 billion for the Vision Fund, which incidentally is the world’s largest private equity fund and has backers such as Apple, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and Foxconn.
In October 2017, SoftBank Group Corp had disclosed it will work with Saudi Arabia to develop “Neom” – an upcoming business and industrial city in the country.