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

Masayoshi Son chairman and chief executiveof Soft Bank Group shakes hands with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in New York after signing an agreement for the huge solar project. Jeenah Moon  Bloomberg

If the farm is built, it would nearly triple Saudi Arabia's electricity generation capacity two-thirds of which is now accounted for by natural gas and the rest by oil.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and the SoftBank Vision Fund are coming together to make this project a reality. The remainder will come from loans to be paid off via revenue that is generated through selling electricity that the huge solar project produces, said Son.

By 2030 the collaboration could yield 200GW of generation capacity including energy storage and Saudi-based manufacturing for PV modules.

Son said revenues from early stage solar parks will help fund the construction of future projects in the kingdom.

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 engineers, great laborers", he said. The venture also plans to build centers for research and development and education and training, he said.

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The project will eventually generate 200 gigawatts of energy, far more than any existing solar project.

Son predicts that this project is going to create up to 100,000 jobs in the Kingdom and save it $40 billion in power costs. It was announced in NY after a Saudi-U.S. CEO forum held on the sidelines of the crown prince's multi-day tour across the U.S.

Last year, Saudi Arabia pledged $45 billion to invest in technology companies around the world.

The fund, which was at $93 billion, reached its target after raising $7 billion from USA corporates and managers of the Vision Fund in the last few months, according to a source familiar with the fund.

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 Japanese company's Vision Fund is also said to plan investments of as much as $10 billion in state-controlled Saudi Electricity Co.as part of efforts to diversify the utility into renewables and solar energy, and SoftBank will also have some of its portfolio companies open offices in Neom. The fund is now closed.

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