bp invests in low-cost, rapid deployment solar provider 5B

Source: press release, 15 December 2022

Port Bonython South Australia roll out
Port Bonython South Australia roll out (photo: 5B)

bp ventures has made an AUD 20 million investment in 5B Holdings Pty Ltd, an Australian renewable company with technology that enables rapid deployment of solar power at scale. The investment closes 5B’s AUD 55 million Series B funding round, which was co-led by existing investors The AES Corporation and Artesian.

5B’s leading solar technology, the 5B Maverick®, consists of up to 90 solar panels mounted on specially designed frames that can be unfolded and installed at speed. To date, 5B has deployed its technology across more than 100 sites worldwide with total generating capacity of over 60 MW.

This year 5B Maverick was used to deploy panels with 1.1 MW capacity – covering the equivalent of a soccer pitch – in a single day, with a team of only 10 at AES’ Andes Solar II B facility in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

The capital injection from bp ventures will support 5B’s technology development and growth. It will also accelerate 5B’s international expansion, and its plans to establish a manufacturing and assembly hub in North America.

Johnathan Stone, principal at bp ventures, who will join the 5B board of directors, says, “5B’s innovative solar technology can deliver low-cost power generation at speed, helping to meet rising electricity demand. This deal is a fantastic example of bp investing in a business that will support our renewable energy transition growth engine. And is another strand of our multi-energy vector country strategy that will support the decarbonisation of energy in Australia.”

“We are delighted to be making an important contribution to 5B’s Series B funding round and look forward to helping them accelerate their expansion through collaboration with various parts of our business,” Stone continues.

bp’s gas & low carbon energy (G&LCE) business and 50-50 joint venture Lightsource bp, together with 5B, will explore the best opportunities to collaborate on the deployment of 5B’s Maverick technology on future bp and Lightsource bp projects. All three companies will continue to work on deploying solar energy to meet the rising demand for reliable, accessible, and affordable electricity.

Chris McGrath, 5B co-founder and CEO, adds, “It’s hugely encouraging to see bp’s transition and we look forward to working together to accelerate that effort. Collaborating with bp ventures and the broader bp businesses offers us a wealth of global commercial and operational expertise. It presents a great opportunity to deploy our 5B Maverick technology across a range of global markets. The backing of such an active and experienced venture capital team is a powerful validation of our technology and ability to support bp as it transitions to an integrated energy company.”