Saudi Arabia to create world's biggest solar power firm

Saudi Arabia to create world's biggest solar power firm

The crown prince is pursuing structural reforms in Saudi Arabia to reduce the reliance of the country's economy on oil. Although the kingdom has been endeavoring to enter the clean energy sector for years, it started working on the first projects only in 2017, gathering offers for a 300-megawatt plant in October. At $93 billion it's not large enough to pay for the mammoth solar project, but it's thought the fund will contribute to some of its costs.

From a year ago, Softbank is planning to work on several projects with Saudi Arabia which includes developing a new business "Neom" and industrial city in the country. Son said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday evening to build a $200 billion biggest solar power project in Saudi Arabia.

"The kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land and great engineers great labor, but most importantly, the best and greatest vision", Son told reporters at the briefing.

The first solar panels will be imported from an established manufacturer, Son said, but all the equipment for the project will be manufactured in Saudi Arabia after the first couple of years. The powerful heir to the throne of the world's largest crude exporter is seeking to diversify the economy and wean off a dependence on oil. "But 200 GW by 2030 though, that's another question", Kiernan said.

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Despite being one of the world's sunniest countries, Saudi Arabia generates most of its electricity from oil-fired power plants.

The final investment total for the 200 GW of generation, including the solar panels, battery storage and a manufacturing facility for panels in Saudi Arabia, will eventually total around $200 billion.

By the numbers: now, the biggest planned solar facilities promise to generate up to 2 gigawatts of power.

The sale of about a 5 percent stake in oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil expected to provide more funds for investments. The kingdom's sovereign wealth fund has reportedly committed $45 billion to the massive technology investment vehicle, which counts Uber, Nvidia and WeWork among its largest investments.

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