Lightsource bp Aims for 1GW in France by 2026

PVTIME – Lightsource bp, a world leader in the development and management of solar energy projects, is setting up in France, with headquarters in Aix-en-Provence. Headed by Raphaël Colas, Lightsource bp France is actively growing its team – which currently boasts extensive European and international experience – to develop its services for businesses and local authorities. Its objective is to produce a 1GW pipeline of solar power projects in France by 2026, through large-scale solar farms.

Lightsource bp was created in 2017 as a joint venture between solar energy producer Lightsource and energy major bp. Now operating in 18 countries, Lightsource bp has developed a range of solar projects since its inception, with a capacity of 5.4GW.

The company is now expanding into France with a 360° offering, encompassing the entire lifecycle of solar energy projects: initial site selection, financing, permitting, long-term management of production sites and sale of electricity.

In France, the company plans to develop several large-scale solar farms (focusing on ground-mount projects) by 2026, to reach a total pipeline of 1GW of solar power projects. To achieve this, Lightsource bp intends to participate in public tenders and to offer companies sustainable energy supply contracts (Power Purchase Agreements) at competitive rates that are stable over time, a valuable asset in these times of high inflation.

Creating employment opportunities in France

Headquartered in Aix-en-Provence, Lightsource bp will be actively recruiting across France including Bordeaux and Lyon in 2022 as a part of its efforts to grow its French team and deliver on its goals as well as play a part in supporting France as it transitions to a lower carbon future. The employment opportunities that Lightsource bp will create cover around 15 roles including land prospectors, engineers, developers, grid managers, GIS specialists and project managers. Lightsource bp has chosen Raphaël Colas as country head, who has nearly 12 years of experience in the photovoltaic sector in France and abroad, and was previously responsible for EPC sales and business development at ENGIE Solar. He will now be responsible for the development of Lightsource bp France from its headquarters in Aix-en-Provence.

“We will invest in projects at various stages of development,” explains Raphaël Colas, Director of Development France at Lightsource bp. “Some will be developed from scratch, others will be co-developed with partners. We will also invest in projects that are in the process of being appraised or that have already obtained all the necessary permits. For us, each of these projects, throughout France, will have the local economy at its core: we operate our production sites for an average of 30 years, generating economic growth and sustainable jobs for the regions concerned.”

“France represents a major challenge for us,” adds Kareen Boutonnat, CEO for Europe and APAC at Lightsource bp. “Our ambition, with this move, is to take advantage of our experience acquired elsewhere in the world, at a key moment for France. France is committed to integrating at least 100GW of solar energy into its energy mix by 2050, so our entry comes at the right time.”

Franck Tiravy, bp France President, said: “Accelerating solar power in the French energy mix is quickly becoming a reality. I am very excited to see Lightsource bp establishing itself in the French solar market and contributing to the ambitious development objectives set by the government for the country. bp has just celebrated its 100 years of presence and investment in France and this announcement by Lightsource bp is perfectly in line with our transition to a decarbonized future.”