Oil major BP said today that it will invest £150million over three years in a solar power company.
In return, BP will get a 43% share in London-headquartered Lightsource, which will be renamed Lightsource BP.
BP will have two seats on the board of directors at the new venture.
The partnership will develop Lightsource’s 6gigawatt project pipeline, which is largely focused on the US, India, Europe and the Middle East.
BP will pay Lightsource an initial £37million when the deal goes through at the start of next year.
BP has high hopes for solar power. A recent study by the company showed solar capacity more than tripled over the past four years worldwide.
The company believes solar is likely to supply about a third of the world’s total renewable power and up to 10% of total global power by 2035.
Lightsource has commissioned 1.3GW of solar capacity since it was set up in 2010.
It manages about 2GW of capacity under long-term operations and maintenance contracts – the equivalent of powering more than half a million homes through clean energy.
BP group chief executive 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.
“I am confident that the combination of Lightsource’s expertise and experience with BP’s relationships and resources will propel this innovative business to even more rapid growth.”
Lightsource chief executive 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.”