BP to invest $200m in solar energy company

The oil and gas firm BP will invest $200 million over three years into Lightsource, Europe’s largest solar development company. The investment will fund Lightsource’s worldwide growth plans.

Lightsource and BP announced that they entering into a strategic partnership that seeks to bring Lightsource’s solar development expertise together with BP’s global reach. Lightsource focuses on the acquisition, development and long-term management of large-scale solar projects.

Nick Boyle, Group CEO and founder of Lightsource, said: “Not only does this partnership make strategic sense, but our combined forces will be part of accelerating the low-carbon transition. Solar power is the fastest growing source of new energy and we are excited to be at the forefront of this development.”

BP will invest $200 million into Lightsource over three years. Upon completion of the investment, it will acquire a 43 per cent equity share in the solar development company. Lighsource will be renamed Lightsource BP, and BP will have two seats on the board of directors.

BP sees considerable growth potential in the new partnership. Global installed solar generating capacity more than tripled in the past four years and grew by over 30 per cent in 2016 alone, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. The oil and gas company expects solar to generate around a third of the world’s total renewable power and up to 10 per cent of total global power by 2035.

This isn’t BP’s first foray into renewable energy. As Reuters reported, BP went into the solar panel manufacturing business six years, but it wrote down billions as it struggled with competition from China.

The new partnership with Lightsource, in contrast, will focus on developing and managing major solar projects around the world, in particular grid-connected plants and corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) with private companies.

Lightsource has commissioned 1.3 GW of solar capacity to date and manages approximately 2 GW of capacity under long-term operations and maintenance contracts – the equivalent of powering over half a million homes through clean energy. It currently has a 6 GW growth pipeline, which is largely focused in the US, India, Europe and the Middle East.


Image credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr

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