Saudi Arabia to create world's biggest solar power firm

Soft Bank Group Corp is seen at the company's headquarters in Tokyo

Soft Bank Group Corp is seen at the company's headquarters in Tokyo

Yesterday, 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.

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 deal is the first major investment by the fund in Saudi Arabia.

"Building will start this year", he added, with operations expected to start from next year.

"This is a tremendous step in human history". It will reach its maximum capacity by 2030 and may cost close to $1 billion per gigawatt. About two thirds of that is generated by natural gas, with the rest coming from oil. The massive scale of this project will create complete industries in Saudi Arabia for the manufacturing as well as installation of solar equipment.

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Masayoshi Son said the project would create 100,000 jobs and reduce the cost of producing by 40 billion Dollars. "The kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land and great engineers, great labor, but most importantly, the best and greatest vision", Son told reporters.

According to Adel Al Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's minister of foreign affairs, Prince Mohammed also had a "constructive and fruitful" meeting with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

From a year ago, Softbank is planning to work on several projects with Saudi Arabia which includes developing a new business "Neom" and industrial city in the country. The project is also set to more than quadruple Saudi Arabia's solar capacity, which is now around 60GW.

The Kingdom has accelerated the pace of deals in pursuit of the diversification targets of Price Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud. The project will be part of the SoftBank Vision Fund, which was set up in 2016, and has invested in many projects in the US, India and Europe. The sale of about 5% of the oil giant Saudi Aramco is expected to provide additional funds.

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