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

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"Saudi Arabia is clearly preparing for a post-fossil fuel dependent economy in terms of domestic energy consumption, and this huge bet on renewables would free up a lot of domestic output of oil for exports, while probably saving domestic gas resources as well", said Peter Kiernan, lead energy analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit in Singapore.

Installation of the solar panels is planned to start this year, and the project should start producing electricity by the middle of next year.

The projects are expected to create an estimated 200,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia and increase GDP by $12 billion, as well as save an annual estimated amount of $40 billion.

The project cost will be around $200 billion. The project will cost $200 billion which will include solar panels, battery storage and a manufacturing facility for panels 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.

"Saudi Arabia generally releases big numbers on long time frames, which are then subject to revision, and Softbank likes to announce big numbers too", said Bloomberg New Energy Finance solar analyst Jenny Chase in an email.

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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.

SoftBank Group has launched an investigation into possible insider involvement in an effort to take down an heir apparent the Japanese technology giant had spent heavily to bring over. That's a boost for Prince Mohammed, who's been at the forefront of the Vision 2030 campaign to diversify the kingdom's economy away from oil by that year. It is said that SoftBank aims to invest 15 billion United States dollars in a new city, Neom, which the Prince plans to build on the Red Sea.

The Kingdom has accelerated the pace of deals in pursuit of the diversification targets of Price Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

Saudi Arabia also plans to build at least 16 nuclear reactors in the next 25 years at a cost of more than 80 billion Dollars.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son established the Vision Fund, in concurrence with the Delta Fund set up to invest in Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, has funnelled $27.5 billion.

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