Speaking at a press conference in NY today, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Softbank chief executive Masayoshi Son confirmed they had signed a memorandum of understanding to proceed with the project, which will make full use of the Middle Eastern sunshine.
He said the project will create 100,000 jobs, reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil for its electricity, which it can sell internationally instead, and will generate 200 gigawatts of electricity by 2030.
CNBC reported that the project includes the building of solar parks, integrating battery technology, and constructing a massive new facility that will integrate solar equipment manufacturing. The fund has already invested in companies in the U.S., India and Europe.
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"The kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land, great engineers, great laborers", he said. "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 venture also plans to build centers for research and development and education and training, he said.
The Softbank Vision Fund will begin a major investment partnership with Saudi Arabia that could see 200GW of solar generation capacity installed. The country can shave off $40 billion power bills, he said as quoted by Bloomberg.
Saudi's government has been attempting to wean the kingdom off its oil addiction and diversify its economy into different areas. The announcement took place during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's trip across the United States. SoftBank's Vision Fund will give $1 billion for the first phase.
Softbank has also raised over $93 billion for the Vision Fund, the world's largest private equity fund with backers including Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, Apple and Foxconn. The fund is now closed.