BP to acquire $200m worth stake in Lightsource

Galtero Lara
Diciembre 15, 2017

BP will buy a 43 percent stake in solar energy company Lightsource for $200 million, the British oil producer said on Friday, marking its return to the solar sector.

The investment in the London-based Lightsource marks a turnaround for the British oil firm, which rebranded as Beyond Petroleum in 2000 but shut its alternative energy headquarters nine years later.

The investment, a fraction of the approximately $17 billion BP has spent in 2017, comes six years after BP wrote down billions on its first foray into solar, when its panel manufacturing business struggled with competition from China.

BP's Alternative Energy chief executive Dev Sanyal said: "We see significant opportunity to offer affordable, reliable, low-carbon power solutions by integrating solar alongside our existing Alternative Energy and gas business".

Although globally state subsidies for renewable projects are falling as technology costs come down, new projects are increasingly turning to long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with corporations to secure revenues.

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Nick Boyle, founder and chief executive of Lightsource, said in many countries solar had moved from relying on government support to being able to compete on its own.

The company is to be rebranded as Lightsource BP and the oil company will have two seats on the board of directors.

Under the terms of the agreement, BP will pay Lightsource $50 million on completion of the agreement, with the balance will be paid in instalments over three years. Lightsource were advised by Rothschild, White and Case, Deloitte and Baker & McKenzie.

Lightsource has commissioned 1.3 GW of solar capacity to date and manages about 2 GW of capacity under long-term operations and maintenance contracts. BP's Energy Outlook analysis expects solar energy to generate around one third of the world's total renewable power and up to 10 per cent of total global power by 2035.

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