BP To Invest $200 Million In Solar

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BP's Energy Outlook analysis sees solar as likely to generate around a third of the world's total renewable power and up to 10% of total global power by 2035.

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.

BP has said the promising "fundamentals" behind the current global solar market triggered it to re-enter and the petrol giant now has ambitious plans for worldwide growth. The company will be rebranded as Lightsource BP as part of the transaction.

BP withdrew from the solar market six years ago, after stiff competition from cheap Chinese panels ended its 40-year run as a manufacturer and installer of the technology.

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However BP has an appetite for solar once more and, speaking to PV-Tech, BP Alternative Energy chief executive Dev Sanyal said the fundamental factors behind solar were key.

Lightsource has most recently entered into the Australian and Dutch PV markets to complement its existing interests in the USA and India, but Lightsource chief executive Nick Boyle says this could soon grow further.

Lightsource, also a UK company which now manages 2GW of solar capacity, wants to increase that to 6GW with ambitious roadmapping that will see it expand in the United States, India and the Middle East as well as Europe.

Lightsource is into acquisition, development and long-term management of large-scale solar projects.

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"Not only does this partnership make strategic sense, but our combined forces will be part of accelerating the low-carbon transition. Lightsource BP will instead grow value through developing and managing major solar projects around the world".

That transformation - marketed as "Beyond Petroleum" - led to BP manufacturing solar panels in Australia, Spain and the United States, and erecting wind farms in the United States and the Netherlands. The company's revenue model is focused on capturing value through the provision of full lifecycle services, integrating in-house development, operational management, contracted income (25-30 years+) and deep asset financing expertise to improve competitiveness.

BP, which also has wind power, biofuels and biopower investments, said it would pay $50 million when the deal was completed and the balance of the $200 million over three years.

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