BP Buys into U.S. Solar Market As Part of Decarbonization Drive

A solar installation in Oregon

A solar installation in Oregon Oregon Department of Transportation

The oil and gas giant BP has agreed to buy a group of U.S. solar energy farms that, once completed, will be capable of generating enough electricity to power 1.7 million homes.

The $220 million purchase is the latest in a string of renewable energy investments in the UK, Portugal, Greece, and the U.S. that BP has made as it vows to transform itself from an oil and gas company to a clean-energy business, the Guardian reports.

Lightsource BP, a joint venture company in which BP owns a 50/50 share, is buying the solar farms from U.S. solar developer 7X Energy. The projects, being built in 12 states, will generate 9 gigawatts of electricity and will move BP toward its goal of producing 20 gigawatts of clean energy by 2025 and 50 gigawatts by 2030.

The oil and gas company has also recently invested in offshore wind energy projects in the U.S. and the UK, and last month it bought, with a Greek partner, 40 percent of the capacity in a Greek renewables auction.

Some investors believe BP is paying too much to speed its move into renewable energy, the Guardian reports. But the company’s investment in green energy has earned praise from some environmental groups, including Greenpeace.