Saudi Arabia, Softbank to create world’s largest solar power generation project
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed on Tuesday a Memorandum of Understanding with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son to create the world’s largest solar power generation company in Saudi Arabia. .
At a press conference in New York, the Crown Prince and the Softbank CEO said they expected the solar project to have the capacity to produce up to 200 gigawatts by 2030.
The project is expected to support the creation of a domestic solar equipment manufacturing industry in the kingdom.
It states that two solar plants with a capacity to generate 3 gigawatts and 4.2 gigawatts will be launched by 2019.
The agreement also states that the two parties are committed to exploring the manufacture and development of solar storage systems in Saudi Arabia, as well as the establishment of specialized companies for research and development of solar panels in commercial quantities that will allow them to be marketed domestically and globally.
This MoU is also complementary to what was previously signed in the Future Investment Initiative last October.
The agreement indicates that feasibility studies between the two parties on this project will be completed by May 2018.
The MoU is based on the commitment of the two parties to the production and distribution of solar panels with a capacity of 200 gigawatts in Saudi Arabia, as well as exploring the opportunities to establish industries in the field of power generation systems and batteries in the kingdom, which will help to support diversification of sectors and create jobs in the field of advanced technologies.
It is expected that this will help fuel energy production in Saudi Arabia, which will boost the kingdom’s role in supplying the world's oil-reliant markets, especially as demand for oil is steadily increasing as production in some areas is depleted.
The projects are expected to create an estimated 200,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia and increase GDP by $12 billion, as well as save an annual estimated amount of $40 billion.
The announcement happened during the New York leg of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's trip across the United States.