Lightsource BP spends $100 million on equipment to fuel solar expansion

ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, January 14 – San Francisco-based utility-scale solar developer Lightsource BP is prepping a 4-gigawatt pipeline of projects with “solar tracking” equipment from Array Technologies. (Tracking equipment helps maximize the amount of sunlight that can be converted to energy.)

The deal follows on the heels of a fresh equity agreement with oil major BP, which owns 50% of the company as of December.

BP took a 43% stake in Lightsource in 2017, signifying its foray back into the solar sector after shutting down its initial go at solar in 2011. The equity infusion from BP has allowed Lightsource to multiply its pipeline six-fold. It has 2-gigawatts of solar projects under its belt and 1.5-gigawatts queued up as part of a larger, three-year expansion phase in the U.S.

For BP, its investment in Lightsource is part of the company’s effort to ramp up its alternative energy dealflow since 2017. BP’s first foray into energy alternatives in the early 2000s was largely a bust. Its more recent effort has focused heavily on electric vehicle technology.

BP has otherwise lagged oil and gas peers Shell, Total and Norway’s Equinor in investing in clean energy. That said, even the most progressive of oil majors are only spending about 5% of their total capital outlays on new energy sources.