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BP to return to solar industry with $200m stake in Lightsource

EBR Staff Writer Published 15 December 2017

Oil and gas major BP will acquire a stake of 43% in UK-based solar energy generator Lightsource Renewable Energy for $200m to mark its return to the solar industry.

Lightsource is into acquisition, development and long-term management of large-scale solar projects. The company will be rebranded as Lightsource BP as part of the transaction.

The strategic partnership between the two companies combines the solar development and management expertise of Lightsource with the global scale, relationships and trading capabilities of BP to drive further growth across the globe.

BP will pay the acquisition amount over three years with most part of the investment to fund the worldwide growth pipeline of Lightsource.

The oil and gas major’s stake in Lightsource BP is expected to complement its existing Alternative Energy business, which includes wind energy, biofuels and biopower.

Lightsource BP will target the increasing demand for large-scale solar projects across the world. It will focus on grid-connected power plants and corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed with private firms.

The company will also continue to develop and deliver the 6GW growth pipeline of Lightsource, which is mostly focused in the US, India, Europe and the Middle East.

BP group CEO Bob Dudley said: “BP has been committed to advancing lower-carbon energy for over 20 years and we’re excited to be coming back to solar, but in a new and very different way.

 “While our history in the solar industry was centred on manufacturing panels, Lightsource BP will instead grow value through developing and managing major solar projects around the world.”

As per the agreement terms, Lightsource will be paid $50m by BP on completion of the transaction which is anticipated in early 2018. The remaining amount will be paid in installments over three years.

Lightsource Group CEO and founder Nick Boyle said: “We founded Lightsource to lead the solar revolution and chose to partner with BP because, like us, their ambition is to build and grow this company for the long-term.

“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.”

In late July, Lightsource and BlackRock Real Assets entered in to a £1bn worth strategic partnership to target the acquisition and ownership of solar power generation assets in the UK.

Image: BP makes a comeback to the solar market with its investment in Lightsource. Photo: courtesy of BP p.l.c.