Softbank Vision Fund to seed investment in 200GW of Saudi Arabian solar

The Softbank Vision Fund will begin a major investment partnership with Saudi Arabia that could see 200GW of solar generation capacity installed.

In comments to reporters in New York that have been reported widely, Softbank chief Masayoshi Son said the first phase would involve the development of 7.2GW of solar. Softbank’s Vision Fund will provide US$1 billion of the total US$5 billion required. Project finance will be sought for the remainder.

By 2030 the collaboration could yield 200GW of generation capacity including energy storage and Saudi-based manufacturing for PV modules.

Saudi Arabia has a young, growing population, soaring electricity demand and a desire under the country’s new leadership to aggressively diversify its economy. The package of reforms are collectively referred to as Vision 2030.

Son told reporters the “two visions have come together to create clean, sustainable, low-cost and productive renewable energy”.

A government-backed plan to develop more than 100GW of solar in the Kingdom stuttered and stalled despite great fanfare. A more conservative tender programme open to private investors has been more successful with 300MW of solar already awarded. It is targeting more than 9GW of renewable deployment by 2023 and 3.3GW of solar tenders in 2018 alone.

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