SoftBank Group and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman yesterday (29 March) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a 200 Gigawatt (GW) $200 billion solar energy plant in Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg has reported.
The plant, which is expected to hit peak capacity only by 2030, is the largest such project ever announced, with the global solar power generation standing at about 100 GW till last year. The project will also create 100,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia.
The project comes as a part of the Saudi prince’s ongoing efforts to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on oil. It is a huge boost for Bin Salman’s Vision 2030 drive to radically alter the traditional oil-fuelled economy to a modern one.
SoftBank has recently grown close to Saudi Arabia with the setting up of a tech fund totalling about $100 billion earlier. SoftBank also said that it plans to invest as much as $25 billion in Saudi Arabia in the next 3 to 4 years, with a $15 billion investment in the Saudi prince’s pet Neom city project.
The country currently produces 77 GW of electricity with most of it coming from natural gas and oil. However, it is seeking a move towards solar power given abundant free area and perennial and ample sunlight.
“The kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land and great engineers, great labor, but most importantly, the best and greatest vision,” Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s founder said.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.