Our commitment to innovation
As a developer, owner and operator of large-scale solar projects across the globe, Lightsource bp believes in the centrality of innovation in driving better outcomes for our business. To that end, seasoned professionals Chris Buckland, Lightsource bp Technical Director, and Kevin Christy, Head of Innovation & Operational Excellence, Americas, and their teams have launched and are managing a range of innovative projects both on our own and in collaboration with others.
Current projects include:
- Hail mitigation: For the last 24 months, the team in the US has been developing and refining a highly effective method of bolstering the defenses of 100% of our US solar plants and construction sites against potentially damaging hail. This effort combines the attentiveness of our team to daily and hourly hail risk with our talented IT team, focused on a comprehensive, partly automated solution.
- Vegetation management: Since 2020, Lightsource bp has been creating bespoke vegetation management plans for each of our projects, including a unique “hybrid” model whereby our O&M providers hire dedicated groundskeeping personnel and we purchase the necessary equipment for the site, on which we will be installing GPS trackers so that we can gather data on productivity based on equipment type and site characteristics. We also include sheep grazing and other biodiversity measures on various sites. In summer 2022, we plan to conduct a robotic mower test at one of our Texas facilities.
- Fleet Spares: As our fleet grows, we are looking to evolve from the typical “project owns the spares” to a combination of project-level and fleet-level spare parts inventories, including for high voltage equipment. Our Americas Innovation team has been developing an economic model to determine when, where and for what equipment it makes sense to carry such fleet-level spares.
- DC-DC battery storage retrofits: In early 2023, we expect to retrofit new battery energy storage capacity to an operating solar-only project in the PJM market.
- AI-driven contract insights: Currently, Lightsource bp is evaluating AI-driven document insight solutions to improve contract due diligence and contractual obligation recording.
- Pilots and Early Deployments: The Lightsource bp team has a range of pilots and early deployments under way, including robotic mowing, albedo enhancement, cable management, remote sensing, machine learning, and more.
- Data sharing/collaboration: We have active collaborations with industry, academia and government agencies designed to attract best practices and help drive more intellectual resources towards solving our industry’s pressing challenges. Visit our partnerships page to learn more about some of these collaborations.