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Lightsource BP to power UK Budweiser breweries with unsubsidized solar farms

A solar development company part-owned by oil major BP PLC will build subsidy-free solar farms in the U.K. to fully power the operations of Budweiser-brewer Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA/NV in the country.

London-based Lightsource BP Renewable Energy Investments Ltd. signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with AB InBev UK Ltd., the British subsidiary of the Belgian brewer, to provide 100% renewable electricity to the company's two main U.K. breweries in South Wales and Lancashire, it said in a press release.

Lightsource BP will fund, develop and operate 100 MW of solar power installations under the deal, which the company said would make it the largest unsubsidized solar energy project in the U.K. to date.

SNL Image

A solar farm developed by Lightsource BP on the Isle of Wight.
Source: Lightsource BP

Subsidy-free solar farms are slated to become more common across Europe, as continuing cost declines increasingly put the technology on par with other energy sources. In the U.K. alone, up to 600 MW of unsubsidized, grid-scale solar capacity is expected to come online in 2019, according to the Solar Trade Association, an industry group.

"Solar is cost-competitive, scalable, reliable and quick to deploy," Nick Boyle, Group CEO at Lightsource BP, said. "We have reached a pivotal point in the U.K. energy sector where unsubsidized solar is going to truly make its mark as the cheapest form of energy generation."

Boyle told industry publication Solar Power Portal earlier this month that his company had secured contracts to install more than 300 MW of solar projects backed by power purchase agreements in the U.K.

The two AB InBev breweries produce over 17 million bottles and cans of Budweiser each week, according to Lightsource BP, which expects the solar parks to be up and running by the end of 2020. From then, all Budweiser brewed and sold in the U.K. will promote its renewable-powered origins with a logo similar to one already rolled out in the U.S.

AB InBev wants to source all its electricity from renewables and reduce the carbon emissions across its global supply chain by 25% against a 2017 baseline by 2025.