Saudi Arabia unveils plan to build the world’s largest solar power project

Saudi Arabia are building the world’s largest solar power project, valued at $200 billion. The project was announced on Tuesday, a partnership between Saudi Arabia and Japanese tech giant SoftBank.

The project is expected to be completed by 2030 and will reach capacity of 200 gigawatts, report SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son. This project will be 100 times larger than the next proposed solar power project in Australia which will be 2 gigawatts.

This investment into solar power will move Saudi away from their reliance on oil, which is a part of Saudi Crown Prince’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify the country’s revenue sources.

According to Bloomberg, Saudi currently uses 77 gigawatts, two-thirds from natural gas and one-third from oil, which means the 200 gigawatts of solar power will be almost three times the amount the country currently uses alone; so now it will allow for stored power exports.

The $200 billion will cover the solar panels, battery storage and the manufacturing plant to make the solar panels. The first $5 billion 7.2 gigawatts phase will be driven by $1 billion from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, a long-term investment fund, while the remainder of the project will be funded by their “project financing”.

The first of the two solar parks will begin construction this year and is expected to be functioning by 2019.