Shell dips another toe into renewable energy with solar investment

Looking to diversify its primarily fossil fuel holdings, Royal Dutch Shell is again investing in solar power by buying a stake in a US renewable energy firm.

The multinational energy company, which withdrew from solar energy 12 years ago, bought a 44 percent stake in Nashville-based Silicon Ranch Corp. from funds linked to Partners Group for up to $217 million, according to Power Engineering International.

Shell’s rival energy company BP last month jumped back into the solar power industry by buying a $200 million chunk of Lightsource.

Shell may elect to buy into the company more after 2021. Silicon Ranch is a solar farm owner-operator with an 880 MW portfolio.

In November, Shell decided to double its spending on clean energy research, spending $2 billion until 2020—a far bigger slice than most other fossil fuel companies, but still a small part of its overall $25 billion spending budget.

It was 2002 when Shell made its first step into the renewable energy space, buying up Siemens Solar, which it sold six years later.

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