Why BP Should Consider Partnering With SolarCity

Could this oil giant reconsider getting back into the solar space in a very unique way to further show a strong commitment to fight climate change?

John Licata
John Licata
Apr 27, 2014 at 10:47AM
Energy, Materials, and Utilities

Apple has to be applauded for a perfectly timed announcement coinciding with Earth Day showing how the tech giant is committing to making changes in its operations in order to reduce the effects of global warming. The news, via a short video clip narrated by CEO Tim Cook, specifically depicts how Apple plans to take a more proactive stance on recycling and environmental responsibility. 

This "Better" video is something oil giant BP (NYSE:BP) should spend the 1 minute 44 seconds to watch, especially since we are now four years post the Deepwater Horizon spill and the cleanup is not yet done despite the company suggesting otherwise. 

While BP does support biofuels and wind energy, I'd like to see BP recommit to solar power, especially since the company, under the leadership of Bob Dudley, is increasingly aiming to reduce carbon emissions. In fact, a recent letter from Dudley posted on BP's website, under the Sustainability section, reemphasizes BP's support of a carbon tax (a position it has surprisingly backed since 2012). 

Certainly some could suggest BP supporting the carbon tax is really a move by it and its fellow Big Oil brethren in recent years to put the final nail in the coffin for the coal sector. However, whatever the reason, the company's more open dialogue on a carbon tax should make returning to the solar market even more compelling for BP since production costs have plummeted. 

Here's a wild thought: If BP doesn't want to manufacture its own solar panels, something it did do under the now defunct BP Solar subsidiary, maybe it could find it more appealing to partner with a major solar installer, say SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY.DL), as a means to get back into solar.