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Lightsource and BP join forces to drive growth in solar power development worldwide

-BP to invest $200m in Lightsource over three years for a 43% stake in the business
-Lightsource is Europe’s largest solar development company, focused on the acquisition, development and long-term management of large-scale solar projects
-Lightsource to rebrand as Lightsource BP
-Combination expected to propel company’s continuing rapid expansion worldwide


WEBWIRE

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. Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive

Lightsource and BP today announced that they have agreed to form a strategic partnership, bringing Lightsource’s solar development and management expertise together with BP’s global scale, relationships and trading capabilities to drive further growth across the world.

BP will acquire on completion a 43% equity share in Lightsource for a total consideration of $200 million, paid over three years. The great majority of this investment will fund Lightsource’s worldwide growth pipeline. The company will be renamed Lightsource BP and BP will have two seats on the board of directors.

Nick Boyle, Group CEO and founder of Lightsource, 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.”

Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive added: “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.”

Global installed solar generating capacity more than tripled in the past four years and grew by over 30% in 2016 alone, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. 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.

Lightsource is a global leader in the development, acquisition and long-term management of large-scale solar projects and smart energy solutions worldwide. It has grown in just seven years to become Europe’s largest developer and operator of utility-scale solar projects. The company has commissioned 1.3 GW of solar capacity to date and manages approximately 2GW of capacity under long-term operations and maintenance contracts - the equivalent of powering over half a million homes through clean energy.

BP’s interest in Lightsource BP will complement its existing Alternative Energy business, which includes wind energy, biofuels and biopower. BP Wind Energy has interests in onshore wind energy across the US with total gross generating capacity of 2.3GW. BP Biofuels has world scale plants in Brazil, which produce around 800 million litres of ethanol equivalent per year as well as generating low-carbon power for Brazil’s national grid.

Lightsource BP will target the growing demand for large-scale solar projects worldwide with a focus on grid-connected plants and corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed with private companies. The company will continue to develop and deliver Lightsource’s 6GW growth pipeline, which is largely focused in the US, India, Europe and the Middle East.

The company sees opportunities to create additional value through integrating solar with BP’s other businesses and trading capabilities as well as through BP’s international scale and relationships.

Dev Sanyal, BP’s chief executive for Alternative Energy, added: “We see significant opportunity to offer affordable, reliable, low-carbon power solutions by integrating solar alongside our existing Alternative Energy and gas business. We see Lightsource as a strategic partner with a similar vision and, with the benefits of BP’s global scale and relationships, we together plan to build the global market leader for solar.” 

Under the terms of the agreement, BP will pay Lightsource $50million on completion of the agreement, with the balance paid in instalments over three years. Completion is anticipated in early 2018.

Lightsource were advised by Rothschild, White and Case, Deloitte and Baker & McKenzie.

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Lightsource has grown exponentially since its foundation in 2010, maturing from a startup into a major global player with considerable size, scale and reach. 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.

With approximately 2GW under management, of which 1.3GW was developed in-house, Lightsource has established a significant global pipeline across its four divisions:

  • UK & Europe Large Scale Solar (est. 2010)
  • India, Middle East and Asia (IMEA) Large-Scale Solar (est. 2016)
  • North America Large-Scale Solar (est. 2017)
  • LS Labs Smart Home & Distributed Energy Software (est. 2015)

Among some of Lightsource’s projects are:

  • Europe’s largest floating solar farm. The 6.3MW installation sits on the surface of the Queen Elizabeth the Second reservoir, just outside of London, and is connected into Thames Water’s private energy network.
  • A 20,000-solar panel installation, with a capacity of over 5MW, on the roof of Bentley Motor’s factory in Crewe. The project takes up 3.45 hectares of roof space and generates the equivalent amount of energy to power over 1,200 households.

About BP

BP is a global energy business with wide reach across the world’s energy systems. With over 70,000 employees and activities in more than 70 countries, BP finds, produces and transports oil and natural gas; trades oil, gas, products and power; manufactures and markets fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals; and produces renewable energy through its wind, biopower and biofuels businesses.

About Lightsource Renewable Energy Holdings Limited

Lightsource is Europe’s leading solar energy company and a global market leader in the development, acquisition and management of large-scale solar energy projects, as well as smart energy solutions. Through its integrated platform, groundbreaking structured finance, in-house engineering excellence and dedicated O&M division, Lightsource plays a pivotal role in driving the future global energy mix. The company also boasts some of the best talent in the industry, with a team of over 300 specialists in seven offices across three continents.


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