Lightsource BP to bid for Oman solar project

Europe’s largest solar development company Lightsource BP has signaled its intention to bid for a contract to develop a huge solar park in the north of Oman.

The business was formed in December 2017 after British energy giant BP announced it would invest $200m in London-based Lightsource in return for a 43 per cent stake.

The government of Oman wants to build a 500 megawatt utility-scale solar independent power project at Ibri, in the Al Dhahirah governorate, about 300km to the west of the Omani capital Muscat. The facility would be capable of meeting the electricity needs of about 33,000 homes and would offset in the region of 340,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

The project is expected to cost about $500m. Its completion will mark an important milestone in the sultanate’s drive to diversify its energy mix and reduce its reliance on oil.

According to a report by the Oman Daily Observer, BP Oman president Yusuf al Ojaili announced on Monday that the firm had submitted pre-qualification documents with the intention of making an official bid for the work.

Lightsource BP is also bidding for a contract with Petroleum Development Oman to build a 100 MW solar facility in the south of the sultanate.

Speaking at the end of last year, BP group chief executive Bob Dudley said the company was excited to be re-entering the solar market.

He said: “While our history in the solar industry was centred on manufacturing panels, Lightsource BP will instead grow value through developing and managing major solar projects around the world.

“I am confident that the combination of Lightsource’s expertise and experience with BP’s relationships and resources will propel this innovative business to even more rapid growth.”