>> Is it giving the solar power?>> It was already dabbling in solar power, as this exhibition in Riyadh shows. Now, though, the sector in Saudi Arabia is really heating up. Japan's SoftBank Group is investing in a plan to create the world's biggest solar project. The aim is to have the capacity to produce up to 200 gigawatts by 2030.
That's half the world's current solar capacity, and half what its nuclear power capacity was in 2016. 20% of the initial $5 billion investment will come from SoftBank's vision fund. But the final sum could reach $200 billion, according its CEO. It's also the first time SoftBank and Saudi have worked together on anything other than technology.
And there are lots of firsts in Saudi Arabia at the moment, from women driving to cinemas. The kingdom's also trying to reduce its fossil fuel dependency. Making the most of that other abundant resource could free up between 300,000 and 800,000 barrels of crude for export everyday. And Saudi only needs 60 gig watts of power for its own use, so the rest of the solar capacity could also be exported.
Alternative energy is clearly a focus for the world's largest private equity fund, too. The Vision Fund is already contributing to a $20 billion investment in India, which hopes to generate 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022.