Lightsource BP targets double growth after new funding deal
BP’s joint solar power venture, Lightsource BP, said it will more than double its planned global expansion by 2025 after securing $1.8bn (£1.3bn) in financing.
The company had set an initial target capacity of 10 gigawatts by 2023, enough for almost 3.4m homes, but the new funds will allow it to aim for 25GW by 2025 – or the equivalent of 8.4m homes.
Lightsource also plans to build an extra 9GW of solar farms exclusively for the oil corporation as part of BP’s plan to grow its renewable energy capacity 20 fold by the end of the decade.
The announcement comes as British consumers face soaring gas bills and potential food shortages due to a surge in wholesale prices.
“Globally, renewable energy is shifting from a mindset of gigawatts to terawatts. Investments are being made by the billion, not the million. This trend proves that renewables are mainstream and solar is playing a key role in addressing the climate crisis,” said Lightsource BP chief executive Nick Boyle.
Solar power could help to cut the amount of gas used to run power plants during the summer months. It could also produce green hydrogen, which can be stored and used in place of gas throughout the year.
Boyle told the Guardian newspaper that the future of the solar industry would be driven by demand for green hydrogen – extracted from water using renewable electricity – to replace gas in power plants, factories and transport.
“Hydrogen could be shipped around the world as an energy source, which essentially came from the sun but is captured as a gas, and burned the same way as historic hydrocarbons,” he said.
The venture is expected to create over 500 new jobs within the company over the next four years and expand its global footprint across 15 countries.