An unlikely partnership: BP buys stake in a solar company

The infamously leaky Big Oil poster child British Petroleum announced it’s investing $200m into one of Europe’s premier solar companies, Lightsource. The investment will allow BP to gain a 43% stake in Lightsource over the next three years, rename the company Lightsource BP, and take 2 seats on their board. Finally seeing the writing on […]

The infamously leaky Big Oil poster child British Petroleum announced it’s investing $200m into one of Europe’s premier solar companies, Lightsource.

The investment will allow BP to gain a 43% stake in Lightsource over the next three years, rename the company Lightsource BP, and take 2 seats on their board.

Finally seeing the writing on the wall?  

Meh. Sort of. With oil prices down, and everyone waking up to the threat of climate change, solar is predicted to account for around 10% of global power in the next 20 years, and Big Oil wants a piece of the pie.

Consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie estimates the industry needs to spend $350B on wind and solar between now and 2035 for their renewable market share to catch up to the 12% they hold in oil and gas.

Of course, BP isn’t totally convinced

Despite the facts, BP is moving super slowly into lower-carbon alternatives. A $200m investment into a solar company is pennies against their $1.87B net profit in Q3 alone.

In other words, BP gave oil their Letterman’s jacket long ago, and they’re still going steady. Even if their dating is responsible for nearly 2% of the total rise in CO2 and global sea levels.

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