Softbank joins Saudi in $200bn deal to build world's largest solar park
Two solar plants with the capacity of 3GW and 4.2GW will be launched by 2019, with feasibility studies due for completion this May
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed to develop Solar Power Project 2030, the world's largest solar park, in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has teamed up with Japanese conglomerate, Softbank, to develop the project.
According to a Bloomberg report, cited by Arabian Business, the development is worth $200bn (SAR7.5bn).
The MoU is part of Saudi's endeavour to develop its solar energy sector, with a new company set to be established to focus on the industry.
Two solar plants with a capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW) and 4.2GW will be launched by 2019 as part of the agreement.
Solar panels for the plants will be developed and manufactured in the kingdom, Saudi's state news agency, SPA, reported.
Total capacity is respectively expected to hit 150GW and 200GW by 2030.
Feasibility studies will be completed by May 2018, with the projects expected to create 100,000 jobs in the kingdom.
HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense, and the Chairman of Board of Directors of PIF, signed the MoU with Softbank's group chairman and chief executive officer, Masayoshi Son.
The MoU complements an agreement signed during the Future Investment Initiative forum, held in Riyadh last October.
As part of the agreement, both teams will explore the manufacturing and development of solar storage systems in Saudi, as well as oversee the launch of specialised companies for the research and development (R&D) of solar panels in commercial quantities within the kingdom.
The MoU will also see both companies produce and distribute solar panels with a capacity of 200GW in Saudi Arabia, and market them globally, as well as explore opportunities to set up power generation system and battery businesses in the kingdom.
SPA reported that the MoU would help to "save oil in the energy production" process in the kingdom, thus strengthening the kingdom's role as a global crude supplier.