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, 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.
Plans for the facility are at an early stage and SoftBank may decide to change the size of the plant, the people said. The plant would be a pilot project for Saudi Arabia’s wider plans to build more solar power facilities, they said.
Saudi Arabia and SoftBank signed a memorandum of understanding in March to develop 200 gigawatts of solar power facilities, which would be larger than any other. SoftBank and the PIF last month said they’re continuing to collaborate on solar energy plans after the Wall Street Journal said their $200 billion development was put on hold.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to overhaul its energy industry in order to stop burning oil and gas that are more profitable to export.
As part of this strategy, it plans to build at least 16 nuclear reactors over the next 25 years, and is also developing its first wind power plant and a 300-megawatt solar plant.