BP invests millions in company that supplies ‘rapidly deployable’ solar tech

Environment

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The BP logo displayed outside a gas station in England on August 15, 2022.
Matt Cardy | Getty Images News | Getty Images

BP said it is investing 20 million Australian dollars ($13.53 million) in Australian renewable company 5B, which specializes in solar technology.

The energy major said the investment in 5B — made via its subsidiary BP Ventures — wrapped up a Series B funding round of 55 million Australian dollars that had been co-led by Artesian and the AES Corporation.

“5B’s rapidly deployable solar technology enables fast, easy, low-cost solar installation,” BP’s announcement said.

Australian firm 5B says its 5B Maverick system is “a fully prefabricated, plug-&-play solar farm in a box.” It adds that “each 5B Maverick array consists of up to 90 solar modules, mounted on [nine] domed racks between 10 composite steel-concrete beams.”

BP said 5B had deployed over 60 megawatts of solar tech worldwide, with projects based in Europe, Asia, South America and the United States.

“The investment will allow 5B to expand further globally and invest in R&D,” it added.

‘Today’s energy system is a hydrocarbon system’

CEO Bernard Looney recently said the BP strategy focused on simultaneously investing in hydrocarbons and the planned energy transition.

“What the world needs, more than ever right now, is a conversation and a series of actions that are involved in the practicalities and realities of today and tomorrow,” Looney said during a panel discussion moderated by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in early November.

“Our strategy as BP — which we’re executing in the U.K., we’re working on here in the Middle East and we’re doing it in the United States and across the world — is to invest in hydrocarbons today, because today’s energy system is a hydrocarbon system,” he added.  

Speaking at the Adipec conference in Abu Dhabi, Looney said his company was “obviously trying to produce those hydrocarbons with the lowest possible emissions” whilst at the same time investing in “accelerating the energy transition.”

“We’re doing that in Britain, we’re doing that in the United States, we’re doing it here,” he said, namechecking carbon capture, electric vehicle charging, hydrogen and offshore wind.

BP says it targets net-zero emission by 2050.

Achieving decarbonization poses significant financial and logistical hurdles. Earlier this month, the International Energy Agency said renewables were on course to overtake coal and become the planet’s biggest source of electricity generation by the middle of this decade.

The IEA’s Renewables 2022 report predicted a major shift within the world’s electricity mix at a time of significant volatility and geopolitical tension.

“The first truly global energy crisis, triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has sparked unprecedented momentum for renewables,” it said, adding, “Renewables [will] become the largest source of global electricity generation by early 2025, surpassing coal.”

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