Oil supermajor BP became the latest energy giant to invest in rapid-build 'fold-out' solar technology that is claimed to be able to deploy a megawatt-scale plant in a day at low cost.

BP Ventures has backed Australian start-up 5B with A$20m ($13.5m), joining existing investors AES and Artesian in a A$55m series B funding round for the company.

5B is advancing a technology called 5B Maverick, which comprises up to 90 PV modules on custom designed frames that can be rapidly unfolded. The company currently has 60MW in place around the world.

The 5B system earlier this year was used by a team of 10 to deploy 1.1MW in Chile in a day, said BP in a statement announcing the investment.

Johnathan Stone, Principal at BP Ventures, said: “5B’s innovative solar technology can deliver low-cost power generation at speed, helping to meet rising electricity demand.” Stone will now join the board of 5B.

BP’s huge global solar ambitions are mainly focused around its Lightsource BP joint venture, which BP said will now explore potential opportunities with 5B to use its technology.

5B CEO Chris McGrath said: “Collaborating with BP Ventures and the broader BP businesses offers us a wealth of global commercial and operational expertise. It presents a great opportunity to deploy our 5B Maverick technology across a range of global markets.”