200 GW of solar energy. 200 billion dollars. 100,000 jobs. These are the figures for SoftBank’s solar project, which will become the largest solar park in the world thanks to an agreement signed by Saudi Arabia and the Vision Fund of the Japanese company SoftBank. The project could help Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy for home consumption.
The Saudis and SoftBank, signing an investment contract, are moving towards massive solar development that could see the installation of hundreds of gigawatts by 2030. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman have gave a know about the plan earlier this week; the crown prince commented: “It is a great milestone in the history of mankind. It’s bold, it’s risky and we hope to succeed in doing it.. “
The project is planned for the Saudi desert. According to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it could be around 100 times larger than the next largest proposed development, and could be “more than double what the global photovoltaic industry generated last yearThe $ 200 billion investment will go to solar panels, battery storage and a solar panel manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia, according to Reuters. The initial phase of the project will be 7.2 gigawatts and cost $ 5 billion. of dollars.
SoftBank’s Solar Project Could Be A Big Step For Saudi Arabia From Oil And Toward Clean Energy; Bloomberg said the country currently only has small-scale solar projects and Reuters said they get most of their electricity from oil-fired power plants, despite being one of the most sunny days of the world.
Peter Kiernan, chief analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told Reuters: “Saudi Arabia is bracing for a post-fossil economy, dependent on fossil fuels, in terms of domestic energy consumption, and this huge bet on renewables would free up a large chunk of domestic oil production for export, all of this would probably also save national gas resources“.