Client stories

Lightsource bp to double solar power expansion

We are delighted to have been able to support Lighthouse bp with this new facility and their wider growth strategy.

Reimagining energy through solar power

BP’s joint venture, Lightsource bp, is a global leader in the development and management of solar energy projects. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company’s 600 industry specialists work across 15 countries to help deliver affordable and sustainable solar power for businesses and communities around the world. Until now, the company has developed solar projects globally that provide a total of 3.8GW but is set to scale-up its solar ambition to develop 25GW projects by 2025, with a pipeline of +20GW.

Lightsource bp’s many UK-based projects include a pioneering floating 6.3MW solar installation – the largest of its kind in Europe – on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir in Surrey. In Leicestershire, another project has made Ibstock Bricks one of the most sustainable brickworks in the UK, providing fixed cost renewable energy for the next 25 years thanks to a 4.9MW solar farm, completed in 2020.

Bank consortium opens door to deliver solar power to 8.4 million homes

Earlier this year Lightsource bp announced an ambitious new growth strategy, which included increasing the total capacity target of its projects, from 10 gigawatts by 2023 to 25 gigawatts by 2025 – that’s enough to power the equivalent of 8.4 million homes.

With NatWest having supported Lightsource bp consistently throughout its progress from a young UK start-up 10 years ago to its emergence as a major renewable energy firm, a 50:50 joint venture with bp, the Lightsource bp management team sought our help again to arrange this new funding. After negotiations with nine leading financial institutions NatWest, together with the other banks, agreed a new $1.8 billion revolving credit and trade finance facility to support Lightsource bp’s new global growth strategy.

In addition to building out its +20GW pipeline, the new financing will also go towards building an extra 9 gigawatts of solar farms exclusively for BP, which aims to increase its renewable energy capacity 20-fold by 2030. Furthermore, Lightsource bp’s growth is also expected to create over 500 new jobs within the company over the next four years.

“To meet the Paris Agreement, business as usual isn’t going to cut it”

Peter Dooley, Head of UK Energy and Utilities, NatWest, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been able to support Lightsource bp with this new facility. Over the years, our relationship with them has been about trust, faith and hard work. At NatWest, we continue to play a leading role in supporting the sustainable and renewable energy sectors in the UK, and the wider low or zero carbon economy transition. We have increased our target of Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing (CSFF) to our customers to £100 billion by the end of 2025. As the leading bank in the UK for business customers, we have a significant responsibility, and the ability to encourage, enable and lead the way in helping people across the UK to transition to a net zero carbon economy. This deal is one example of how we support our customers on their transition to net zero and a more sustainable economy.”

Nick Boyle, Group Chief Executive for Lightsource bp, said: “Globally, renewable energy is shifting from a mindset of gigawatts to terawatts. Investments are being made by the billion, not the million. If we’re going to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement – business as usual isn’t going to cut it. Our industry-leading 25 gigawatts by 2025 target and the finance package are further proof that Lightsource bp has left business as usual far behind. Although we need to move quickly, we are committed to scaling up safely, sustainably and responsibly – putting people and the planet at the centre of everything we do.”

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