Lightsource, a company linked to British oil giant BP in Spain, has acquired a portfolio of 1,060 megawatts (MW) of projects spread across Spain from local group RIC Energy, a developer of photovoltaic projects with an international presence.
This is BP’s largest renewables acquisition in Europe to date. It represents a strategic move by the British oil giant to consolidate its position as a major player in renewables in Spain. It is a blow in the race among European oil companies to break into green energy, as part of the ambitious and historic process of transforming their businesses.
Lightsource BP and RIC Energy will collaborate in the development of the projects, which comprise 14 solar plants located in Madrid, Andalusia and Castilla y León. The first projects are expected to reach ‘Ready to Build’ status by the end of 2021, with the plants coming online in phases between 2022 and 2025. Lightsource BP will also work to close project financing and construction contracts.
The more than 1,000 megawatts acquired by BP will involve a huge investment of at least €700 million, which will be financed through various channels. Although the initial purchase of the thousand megawatt portfolio may be a lower amount, less than one hundred million euros, at market prices, in practice what is taken as a reference to gauge the size of this type of agreement is the value of the investment.
Lightsource has already started to approach potential buyers of renewable energy to propose and negotiate Europe-wide power purchase agreements (cross-border PPAs) with terms of up to 10 years.
This acquisition “reinforces Lightsource’s commitment to the development of renewable energy projects in Spain and to its international expansion,” the group explains. BP established its presence in the Spanish renewable energy market at the end of 2018 and since then has worked with local partners to cement its market position, focusing on the acquisition and co-development of large-scale, unsubsidized solar plants.
This announcement comes after the acquisition and construction of a 250 MW portfolio in Zaragoza and the purchase of an additional 100 MW portfolio in Teruel, both acquired from Forestalia in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
“The partnership with local developers allows us to execute new projects quickly and safely, providing affordable and sustainable solar energy for companies and communities throughout the region,” BP executives explain.