BP Buys $220 Million in U.S. Solar Energy Projects

Oil and gas giant BP plans to dramatically expand its portfolio of renewable energy assets under a newly announced deal.
The company plans to pay $220 million to Texas solar energy firm 7X Energy for solar development projects in the U.S.The projects, located across 12 states, would be able to generate 9 gigawatts of clean energy once developed — enough to power about 1.7 million homes. The deal increases BP’s renewables pipeline from 14 gigawatts to 23 gigawatts, and the company said it marks a significant step toward its goal of 50 gigawatts of renewable generating capacity by 2030.
BP officials told Reuters that the solar projects would join onshore wind power and electricity from natural gas under its U.S. power trading business. BP expects the sites to generate returns of at least 8% to 10% and create thousands of jobs during construction. BP will develop the projects through its solar joint venture Lighthouse BP. The deal comes amid rising pressure on major oil and gas companies to do more to combat climate change. Exxon Mobil in late May saw two members of its board of directors ousted over those concerns. BP has set a goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. BP officials said solar energy currently accounts for more than 40% of all new electricity generating capacity added in the U.S. Solar power in that market is expected to quadruple over the next decade.