Lightsource BP – the solar developer 50% owned by the oil supermajor – announced a more than doubling in growth ambitions backed by a $1.8bn finance package as it hailed “a shift in mindset from gigawatts to terawatts” by the global renewables sector.
London-based Lightsource BP now wants to develop 25GW of projects by 2025, upping a previous goal of 10GW by 2023 and building on a PV expansion spree over the last 18 months that has already seen it make rapid inroads in Europe and the US.
News of the new goal came as the developer said it had secured a $1.8bn revolving credit and trade finance facility to underpin the expansion, which CEO of Europe and International Kareen Boutonnat earlier told Recharge in an exclusive interview will also be widened to Asia.
Lightsource BP group CEO Nick Boyle said: “Globally, renewable energy is shifting from a mindset of gigawatts to terawatts. Investments are being made by the billion, not the million. And big companies like Amazon, McDonald’s and eBay are switching to clean energy. This trend proves that renewables are mainstream and solar is playing a key role in addressing the climate crisis.
“If we’re going to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement, business as usual isn’t going to cut it. Our industry-leading 25GW by 2025 target and the finance package are further proof that Lightsource BP has left business as usual far behind.”
Lightsource BP has already developed 3.8GW of projects, which it defines as past financial close or construction-ready.
Its expanded growth plans come as PV is increasingly tipped by analysts as the biggest winner of the energy transition, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) dubbing it 'King Solar' because of its potential dominance of the renewables era.
The growth of Lightsource BP’s pipeline and its ability to drive projects through with targeted returns has earned the joint venture the label of “execution machine” from BP group CEO Bernard Looney, who regularly cites its success as the model for the supermajor’s wider foray into sectors such as offshore wind.
A spokesperson for BP told Recharge its own group goals of 20GW net of renewable assets by 2025 and 50GW by 2030 are unchanged by the Lightsource BP announcement. Separately to its own pipeline, the joint venture is developing a 9GW US portfolio on behalf of BP.
BP executive vice president of gas and low carbon Dev Sanyal said: “In the four years since we formed Lightsource BP, it has tripled its footprint and doubled its workforce. The speed and breadth of that expansion is testament to the power of this partnership and what an integrated energy company with global reach brings to the table. Couple that with the drive and delivery of Lightsource and that’s where the magic happens.
“Lightsource BP has developed more than 30 projects, which today have consistently delivered 8 to 10% returns. So, when people ask if we really have the capability to deliver the returns we talk about, the answer couldn’t be clearer – yes, we can because we are.”
BP last week announced that Sanyal will leave the group and will in March next year be succeeded by former RWE Renewables CEO Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, who told Recharge in an exclusive interview that the role offers a unique opportunity to shape the energy transition.