Skip to Content
Climate change

SoftBank and Saudi Arabia aim to build a mind-bogglingly huge solar power system

Costing $200 billion, the facility would generate 200 gigawatts of power—about 100 times more than any other planned solar plant.

The news:  Bloomberg reports that SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday to build the huge new solar plant. It would, in theory, be fully built by 2030.

By the numbers: Currently, the biggest planned solar facilities promise to generate up to two gigawatts of power. So 200 gigawatts is huge. It would also create 100,000 jobs and would more than triple the nation’s existing energy generation capacity of 77 gigawatts.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia currently generates power almost exclusively from oil and gas, so the shift is required. A project of this scale is laudable, given our desperate need to do more to cut emissions.

But: It’s only a memorandum of understanding, which is a long, long way from being a working solar plant. As Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg: “It’s bold, risky, and we hope we succeed doing that.” Hope, indeed.

Deep Dive

Climate change

China’s heat wave is creating havoc for electric vehicle drivers

The country is a leader in EV adoption, but extreme weather is exposing weaknesses in its charging infrastructure.

We must fundamentally rethink “net-zero” climate plans. Here are six ways.

Corporate climate plans are too often a mix of fuzzy math, flawed assumptions, and wishful thinking.

This is what’s keeping electric planes from taking off

Batteries could power planes, but weight will limit how far they fly.

The US agency in charge of developing fossil fuels has a new job: cleaning them up

The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management has a new name, new leaders, and a new mandate to meet Joe Biden’s climate goals.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.