Saudi Arabia to curb oil addiction with £141bn SoftBank solar deal

29 March, 2018, 02:09 | Author: Gladys Mathis
  • SoftBank's Son says to create world's biggest solar power company in Saudi Arabia

The deal was signed on the sidelines of a U.S. visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has undertaken a whirlwind of economic and social reforms.

Saudi Arabia also plans to build at least 16 nuclear reactors over the next 25 years at a cost of more than US$80 billion.

This new project could create 100,000 jobs and expected to raise Saudi gross domestic product by $12 billion, according to a report. According to the statement, "The development of Saudi Arabia's solar energy sector is a core objective of Vision 2030, the Kingdom's blueprint for a modern and diversified economy".

The first solar panels will be imported from an established manufacturer, Son said, but all the equipment for the project will be manufactured in Saudi Arabia after the first couple of years.

The deal deepens SoftBank's connections with Saudi Arabia and represents a step forward in the Prince's ambitions to diversify the economy. There are now only a few small solar power projects in the country.

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Virtually all of Saudi Arabia's power comes from oil or natural gas. "But 200 GW by 2030 though, that's another question", Kiernan said. Those efforts included investments of high-profile in technology including plans for a new city of $500 billion. The first two solar parks will be able to generate 7.2 gigawatts of power and are scheduled to begin construction this year and start generating electricity in 2019.

SoftBank and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are planning on cashing in on the sunshine in the Middle East by building a solar project that would cost $200 billion in the oil-rich nation.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) invested about $54 billion previous year according to data from the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

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

Attia said that 200 gigawatts of solar would basically be enough to provide 95 percent of the country's current electricity needs, but since solar is only available during the day, it couldn't actually provide that much unless it was paired with massive battery installations.

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