Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Ink Deal to Develop World's Largest Solar Project

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF), will invest $45 billion in SoftBank to work on several large-scale solar projects, according to Reuters.

The announcement was made at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

PIF has more than $250 billion in assets and has invested in 50-60 companies via SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund. This investment will also be an exercise to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy away from heavy reliance on oil revenue.

“Electric vehicles were gaining market share and PIF wanted to localize the industry in Saudi Arabia. PIF said it had agreed to invest more than $1 billion in Silicon Valley-based electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors”, Reuters quoted Yasir al-Rumayyan, Managing Director at PIF as saying.

He added, “The PIF has almost 10 percent of its assets held internationally and has a target to raise that to 50 percent by 2030”.

Earlier, PIF acquired a 15.2 percent stake in International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power), a developer, owner, and operator of power generation and water desalination plants. The investment was in line with the PIF program to unlock new sectors and industries, to support and accelerate the development of innovative Saudi businesses and achieve strong long-term returns.

In March 2018,  SoftBank had announced plans to invest in creating the world’s largest solar power project in Saudi Arabia. The project was expected to have the capacity to produce up to 200 GW by 2030 This would add to approximately 400 GW of globally installed solar power capacity and is comparable to the world’s total nuclear power capacity of around 390 GW at the end of 2016.

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