April 21, 2018

Softbank Vision Fund to seed investment in 200GW of Saudi Arabian solar

29 March 2018, 01:18 | Kenneth Drake

SoftBank's Son says to create world's biggest solar power company in Saudi Arabia

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said he envisions the project which runs the gamut from power generation to panel and equipment manufacturing as a way to help wean Saudi Arabia off its dependence on oil for electricity create as many as 100,000 jobs and

Japanese telecom investor Softbank and Saudi Arabia, announced the world's biggest solar power generation project at a press conference in NY.

The deal was signed in presence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is on a United States visit.

In May 2017, SoftBank Vision Fund gathered over $93 billion from a group of investors including Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, Mubadala Investment Company, Apple Inc. and Foxconn Technology Group.

According to Softbank, the deal calls for building solar power plants in Saudi Arabia by 2030 for 200-billion dollars. The project is so huge that it will support the manufacturing kingdom, said SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

"You have never seen something of this scale", he is reported as saying. The project seeks to develop and produce solar power in Saudi Arabia to generate electricity, therefore reducing reliance on oil. "The Kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land, great laborers, and great engineers", "But most importantly it has the greatest vision", Son added. There are now only a few small solar power projects in the country. It is also expected to save the kingdom $40 billion by obviating the need to burn domestically produced oil to generate power.

The agreement deepens SoftBank's ties with the Saudi Arabia, and advances the crown prince's ambition to diversify its economy.

The announcement happened during the NY leg of Prince Mohammed's trip across the United States. Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, which has more than US$224 billion in assets, spent about US$54 billion on investments previous year.

According to Bloomberg, the construction of such a large facility will require an investment of $200 billion.

It will cost $5 billion with $4 billion coming from financing and $1 billion from Softbank's Vision Fund.

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