KSA and SoftBank to build world’s largest solar project

Project could create 100,000 jobs and save $40bn in power generation costs

Saudi Arabia and the SoftBank Group have signed a MoU to build what is claimed to be the world’s largest solar project. According to Bloomberg, $200bn will be invested into the project.

The project was unveiled by SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son in New York at a ceremony with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

“It’s a huge step in human history. It’s bold, risky and we hope we succeed doing that,” Prince Mohammed was quoted as saying.

The project could generate up to 200 gigawatts and, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy, it is expected to be 100 times larger than the next biggest proposed development, as well as a third more than what the global photovoltaic industry supplied worldwide in 2017.

“The kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land and great engineers, great labour but most importantly, the best and greatest vision,” Son told reporters at the briefing.

The project includes panel and equipment manufacturing through to power generation. The development is expected to reach its maximum capacity by 2030 and may cost close to $1bn a gigawatt, Son explained.

The agreement deepens SoftBank’s ties with Saudi Arabia and advances the Crown Prince’s ambition to diversify its economy.

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