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Saudi Arabia denies shelving $200bn solar project with Softbank

The Crown Prince-led Public Investment Fund said reports of the project's cancellation were "inaccurate"

Saudi Arabia has denied shelving a $200bn solar project that it said this March it would develop with Japan's Softbank [representational image].
Saudi Arabia has denied shelving a $200bn solar project that it said this March it would develop with Japan's Softbank [representational image].

Reports of Saudi Arabia cancelling the $200bn (SAR750bn) Solar Power Project 2030 with Japan’s Softbank are “inaccurate”, the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) said.

Referencing the original report by the US’s Wall Street Journal, a PIF spokesperson said the fund – led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – “continues to work with” Softbank Vision Fund, and other parties, “on a number of large-scale multi-billion dollar projects relating to the solar industry”.

The statement by PIF’s spokesperson, cited by state news agency SPA, continues: “The announcement in March 2018 clearly stated that this includes solar generation projects and joint plans to develop large-scale solar panels manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia for solar power generation.

“This will be complemented by research and development and training components. These plans to develop a leading champion for the industry remain on-track and in-line with the timeline that would be anticipated for projects of this scale and ambition.”

READ: Saudi Arabia's $200bn solar park with Japan's Softbank 'shelved'

SPA’s report added that Saudi Arabia is moving ahead with the creation of an overall renewable energy strategy to transform the power sector and become a consumer of diversified energy sources.

“In line with Vision 2030, the Ministry of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources is undertaking a program in coordination with the kingdom’s stakeholders to transform the power sector, and ensure it is more competitive, efficient, and sustainable, underpinned by a strong pipeline for private sector participation,” the report added.

Reuters reported on 1 October, citing WSJ’s article, that the project had been “shelved”, and that “no one” was currently working on the development.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince-led Public Investment Fund (PIF) was said to have joined Softbank to develop Solar Power Project 2030 this March. The project, upon completion, would have been the world’s largest solar park. Feasibility studies for the project were due to complete in May 2018.

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 project’s memorandum of understanding with Softbank's group chairman and chief executive officer, Masayoshi Son, at the time.

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