​Already steeped in wind, Statoil enters solar market

Statoil will acquire a 40 per cent share in the construction-ready 162 megawatt Apodi solar asset in Brazil from Scatec Solar, a Norwegian independent solar power producer.

The project will provide approximately 160,000 households with electricity, said Statoil, which has also agreed to exclusive cooperation with Scatec Solar to jointly develop potential future solar projects in Brazil.

In addition, Statoil will acquire a 50 per cent share in the project execution company, enabling Statoil to participate in building and operating solar projects in the future.

"Brazil is a core area for Statoil where our ambition is to deliver safe and sustainable growth in a significant energy market. Entering into solar in Brazil adds to the positions we have already in the producing Peregrino oil field and in the offshore licenses BM-S-8 and BM-C-33 which include the yet to be developed discoveries Carcará and Pão de Açúcar respectively. We are excited to have entered our first solar project with an experienced partner like Scatec Solar," Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice-president of New Energy Solutions in Statoil, said in a statement.

Statoil will pay a combined acquisition price of US$25 million for access to the Apodi solar asset and the project execution company. Construction of the solar plant will start this month aiming to deliver electricity from the end of 2018.

"As part of Statoil’s strategy to actively complement our oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy sources, we have so far focused on offshore wind where we have a unique competitive advantage building on over 40 years with oil and gas acitvities. The Apodi asset is a sensible first step into the solar industry and can demonstrate how solar can provide Statoil with scaleable and profitable growth opportunities," said Rummelhoff.

Growth opportunities in solar

Improved technology and lower costs have turned solar into an attractive power source, outcompeting traditional sources of energy in important markets. Solar photovoltaic has grown approximately 50 per cent per year globally over the last 10 years, and is anticipated to continue to grow.

Over the last years, approximately three GW of solar projects have been awarded in Brazil in three consecutive utility scale solar auctions. Another seven GW is planned to be awarded by 2024.

Scatec Solar is a Norwegian based solar power producer currently having 322 MW of solar power plants in operation. In addition the company has a significant pipeline of solar projects.

"The potential for solar energy in Brazil is substantial and together with Statoil we are increasing our ambitions further in this market. We are bringing into the partnership a strong track record as an integrated independent solar power producer, while Statoil has a strong engagement and experience from Brazil through its other energy activities," said Raymond Carlsen, Scatec Solar chief executive officer.

Statoil already has a sizeable renewables portfolio with an offshore wind portfolio with the capacity of providing over one million homes with renewable energy. Statoil operates the Sheringham Shoal wind farm in the U.K., which has been in production since 2012. The Dudgeon offshore wind farm in the U.K., also operated by Statoil – and the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland – start producing in 2017. In 2016 Statoil also acquired 50 per cent of the Arkona offshore wind farm in Germany, which will deliver power in 2019.