Saudi Arabia and Softbank team up to build world’s largest solar project

Saudi Arabia and Japanese investment giant Softbank have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build a US$200 billion solar power development of an unprecedented scale.

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman confirmed at a press conference in Paris that the MoU will deliver the world’s largest solar power generation project by 2030.

A sizeable chunk of the joint $200 billion investment will come from Softbank’s $93 billion Vision Fund, with the first phase of the project planned for the Saudi desert expected to cost $5 billion.

The first phase will deliver 7.2GW of power generation capacity in 2019, but the completed product should be able to generate a massive 200GW of renewable energy by 2030.

This makes the project about 100 times larger than the next biggest proposed development and a third more the global photovoltaic industry supplied worldwide in 2017.

Saudi Arabia has made a series of large-scale commitments to clean energy in the Kingdom, including a $50 billion renewables drive last year, but this ambitious project drastically outshines them all.

“It’s a huge step in human history,” Prince Mohammed said. “It’s bold, risky and we hope we succeed doing that.”