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Major Oil and Gas Majors Foray Into Solar Energy Development to Stay Relevant

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Giant oil and gas multinationals such as Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron etc. have started to increase their investments into renewable energy as the world moves away from fossil fuels to new age technologies such as wind, solar, storage etc. These companies were the pioneers in these technologies but never really put serious money or investment as it would hurt their mainstream businesses. However, other companies (many of them spinoffs) have become dominant in these technologies and are now threatening the large energy incumbents.

Oil and Gas

BPCL Refinery

With prices of solar and wind energy becoming lower than coal and gas, they threaten to completely take over the power generation industry. Some countries have already said they will completely go off coal power in the coming years. Even oil and gas are threatened as the transport sector moves towards cleaner electric technologies. Apart from cars, ships and planes are also being tested to run on electricity. BP which was one of the biggest manufacturers of solar panels at the turn of the century is again returning to the solar energy field as it bought a large stake in British green energy firm Lightsource. Shell has also bought a substantial stake in USA green energy developer Silicon Ranch and is also considering an acquisition of Dutch renewable energy supplier Eneco.

Also, read about List of Oil & Gas Companies in India

Both BP and Shell have left the business as they found the competition from the Chinese companies to stiff as the solar industry developed at a tremendous speed. As the industry repeatedly ran into oversupply situations, the large companies such as TSMC, Bosch, Shell and others found the going too hot and despite the potential found the returns too low. With solar energy becoming extremely cheap and capturing most of the power market, these companies are finding it tough to leave the sector out of their portfolios. The companies have mostly invested in project development as the manufacturing industry has been almost completely captured by large Chinese companies who have not left much of a space for others.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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