SoftBank to invest in solar power project in Saudi Arabia

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said he envisions the project which runs the gamut from power generation to panel and equipment manufacturing as a way to help wean Saudi Arabia off its dependence on oil for electricity create as many as 100,000 jobs and

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said he envisions the project which runs the gamut from power generation to panel and equipment manufacturing as a way to help wean Saudi Arabia off its dependence on oil for electricity create as many as 100,000 jobs and

Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Group Corp have joined hands to build the world's largest solar project worth $200 billion in the kingdom that could generate 200 gigawatts by 2030.

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.

At 200 gigawatts, the Softbank project planned for the Saudi desert would be about 100 times larger than the next biggest proposed development and a third more than what the global photovoltaic industry supplied worldwide previous year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. "Saudi Arabia is targeting 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2023, to be achieved through projects created to localize the renewable energy value chain". "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.

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 $200bn, Son said.

The project is consistent with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 - the Kingdom's long-term strategy to wean itself off oil revenues and diversify its economy.

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. Mohammed is now touring the United States in an effort to woo foreign investment in the kingdom as part of his effort to transform and diversify the economy there.

Easter weather looks all right
Thursday and most of Friday will feature a little quieter weather, but more and snow will scatter across the area Friday night . Easter traffic is expected to peak on Thursday and Friday with Scots warned to brace themselves for a wet and windy weekend.

The deal is the first major investment by the fund in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Son, who is known as a savvy investor with a flair for the spotlight, has been promoting clean energy since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and recently completed a 50-megawatt wind power farm in Mongolia.

The kingdom's deal-making has quickened as it pursues Prince Mohammed's diversification goals.

Indeed, a year ago the corporation announced a joint tech fund, the Vision Fund, with the Saudi Arabian government.

The solar project will provide 100,000 jobs to people and it will also increase Saudi's gross domestic product by $12 billion. The Saudi state-owned investment fund, which has assets over 224 billion Dollars, invested around 54 billion Dollars past year.

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