Soft­Bank Plans $1.2bn So­lar Power Plant In Saudi Ara­bia

Sources say the plant, to the north of Riyadh, would gen­er­ate 1.8 gi­gawatts of power a year

Utilities Middle East - - SOLAR UPDATE -

Soft­Bank Group Corp is plan­ning to de­velop a $1.2 bil­lion so­lar power plant in Saudi Ara­bia, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter.

The plant, to the north of Riyadh, would gen­er­ate 1.8 gi­gawatts of power a year, the peo­ple said, ask­ing not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the plans are pri­vate. Soft­Bank has started pre­lim­i­nary talks with banks and de­vel­op­ers to gauge in­ter­est in the fa­cil­ity, they said, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg.

Plans for the fa­cil­ity are at an early stage and Soft­Bank may de­cide to change the size of the plant or not pro­ceed with it, the peo­ple said. The plant would be a pi­lot project for Saudi Ara­bia’s wider plans to build more so­lar power fa­cil­i­ties, they said.

The coun­try’s Pub­lic In­vest­ment Fund is the largest in­vestor in Soft­Bank’s $100 bil­lion Vi­sion Fund as Masayoshi Son forged per­sonal ties to Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man.

The PIF “con­tin­ues to work with the Soft­Bank Vi­sion Fund, and other par­ties, on a num­ber of large-scale, multi-bil­lion dol­lar projects re­lat­ing to the so­lar in­dus­try, which will be an­nounced in due course, in­clud­ing so­lar power gen­er­a­tion,” a spokesman for the fund said in an emailed state­ment.

“Along­side this, the king­dom is mov­ing for­ward with the over­all re­new­able en­ergy strat­egy, through which Saudi Ara­bia aims to be a lead­ing and re­li­able diver­si­fied sup­plier of re­new­able en­ergy.”

A spokesman for Soft­Bank didn’t re­spond to re­quests for com­ment, re­ported Bloomberg.

Saudi Ara­bia and Soft­Bank signed a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing in March to de­velop 200 gi­gawatts of so­lar power fa­cil­i­ties, that would be larger than any other. Soft­Bank and the PIF last month said they’re con­tin­u­ing to col­lab­o­rate on so­lar en­ergy plans.

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