Look! Saudi Arabia & SoftBank Plan World's Largest Solar Project

Look! Saudi Arabia & SoftBank Plan World's Largest Solar Project

Softbank is to invest in the project through its US$100 billion Softbank Vision Fund, created in 2016 with money from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and others.

"Importantly, these projects will help create up to 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Kingdom". While the kingdom has for years sought to get a foothold in clean energy, it's was only in 2017 that ministers moved forward with the first projects, collecting bids for a 300-megawatt plant in October. The solar park has to reach its maximum capacity by 2030 and may cost almost 1 billion Dollars per gigawatt.

Despite being one of the world's sunniest countries, Saudi Arabia generates most of its electricity from oil-fired power plants.

From previous year, 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 farm, which could cost $200 billion would be partially bankrolled by Japanese SoftBank and would involve the construction of solar parks throughout Saudi Arabia and a large battery to store the energy generated by the panels.




If it is built, the solar park will increase almost three times the capacity of Saudi Arabia to produce electricity, reaching 77 gigawatts in 2016.

By the numbers: now, the biggest planned solar facilities promise to generate up to 2 gigawatts of power. The Indian-born dealmaker, valued for his Silicon Valley connections and growth-company investments, spearheaded major offshore acquisitions for SoftBank. Electricity demand in the country has risen by as much as 9 per cent a year since 2000, according to BNEF. During the peak summer months, when temperatures soar past 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the kingdom burns about 700,000 barrels of oil a day for air conditioning. "Oil is better for airplanes, automobiles, trucks in mobile utilities".

The project is so big that it's expected to take more than a decade to finish.

Major solar installations, like nuclear plants, could also help free up oil burned for electricity at home for export overseas - which might hint at one additional motivation for the agreement.

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