Saudi Arabia to build world’s largest solar project

Saudi Arabia is planning to build a 200 GW solar power project. It is expected to produce more than double what the global photovoltaic industry supplied in 2017.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son presented the project in New York at a ceremony with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The solar project planned for the Saudi desert hopes to achieve 200 GW of solar capacity in Saudi Arabia by 2030. SoftBank, a Japanese multinational conglomerate, signed a memorandum of understanding to build the $200 billion solar power project.

The project will be the largest in the world and according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance will be about 100 times larger than the next biggest proposed development and produce more than double what the global photovoltaic industry supplied last year. “It’s a huge step in human history,” Prince Mohammed said. “It’s bold, risky and we hope we succeed doing that.”

The memorandum commits the parties to explore the manufacture and development of energy storage systems, establish joint ventures for research and development and produce solar panels with a capacity of 200 GW in Saudi Arabia with the ultimate aim of negotiating the rights within the Kingdom to export power and solar panels overseas according to a press release from the Saudi embassy in Washington D.C.

The kingdom also hopes to support sector diversification and high-tech job creation with the project. The development would also enable the exportation of more oil, claimed the embassy, increase the GDP by 12 billion dollars and save up to 40 billion dollars per year.

Shortly after the Saudi Arabia deal SoftBank also agreed to launch a $930 million Indian joint solar energy venture with Chinese firm GCL System Integration Technology.

Image credit: Lance Cheung via Flickr

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