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SoftBank to invest in solar power project in Saudi Arabia

29 March 2018

The deal was signed on the sidelines of a United States visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has undertaken a whirlwind of economic and social reforms.

A statement released a year ago in October by PIF revealed that a MoU had been signed to create the "Solar Energy Plan 2030" which would happen through the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).

The 200 gigawatts of capacity announced Tuesday will be spread throughout the kingdom.

SoftBank plans to invest 25 billion Dollars in Saudi Arabia in the next three or four years.

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By 2030 the kingdom expects solar panels with a capacity of 200GW to roll out across the Saudi Arabia, which is more than triple the UK's total installed power capacity.

The ample sunshine and land and Saudi Arabia's pool of engineers and skilled workers make the foray into solar there lucrative, Son said.

Breaking news of the probe this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that a special panel set up by SoftBank's board has been looking at a shareholder campaign against Nikesh Arora, president under Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son, and another executive. About two thirds of that is generated by natural gas, with the rest coming from oil. The push into solar power is part of Saudi Arabia's ongoing strategy to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify its oil-dependent economy by investing in alternative industries that provide a healthy return on investment.

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The agreement will drive investment in a series of solar parks across the kingdom to be built by 2030, capable of generating enough power for 150 million homes. Those efforts included investments of high-profile in technology including plans for a new city of $500 billion.

The project is planned for the Saudi desert and at 200 gigawatts, it's going to be 100 times larger than the next biggest proposed solar farm.

Softbank has also raised over $93 billion for the Vision Fund, the world's largest private equity fund with backers including Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, Apple and Foxconn. Electricity demand in the country has risen by as much as 9 per cent a year since 2000, according to BNEF.

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SoftBank to invest in solar power project in Saudi Arabia