Shell invests in Nashville solar firm, but it’s no less an oil company

Enlarge / This photo represents a previous project completed by the Green Power EMC and Silicon Ranch partnership. The 52 MW ac solar energy plant in Hazlehurst, Georgia incorporates 633,600 solar modules. (credit: PRNewsfoto/Silicon Ranch Corporation)

On Monday, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it is going to acquire a 43.86-percent stake in a Nashville-based solar plant company called Silicon Ranch Corporation. The deal could cost up to $ 217 million, according to Reuters.

The Netherlands-based oil and gas company is one of the biggest companies in the world, and, by its own account, it recorded revenue of $ 233.6 billion in 2016 and $ 4.8 billion in net income. The $ 217 million it has set aside for a US-based solar investment is a small fraction of that, but it does reflect some willingness to acknowledge a future, however far out, in which oil and gas may not dominate energy and transportation sectors.

The move follows oil and gas giant BP (formerly British Petroleum), which invested $ 200 million in European solar development company Lightsource just a month ago.

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