BP returns to solar energy with $200 million investment in Lightsource

BP (LSE:BP) has purchased a 43% stake worth US$200 million in Lightsource, Europe’s biggest solar developer, in a return to the industry it exited nine years ago.

The strategic partnership between the oil major and Lightsource will seek to extend the latter’s worldwide growth pipeline, which will be advanced under a new name – Lightsource BP.

“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,” said Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive.

Lightsource’s CEO 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.”

Lightsource has commissioned 1.3GW of solar capacity across four global divisions in just seven years, most notably developing the world’s first floating solar farm in the UK.

Lightsource BP will target the growing demand for large-scale solar projects worldwide, focusing on grid-connected plants and corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed with private companies.