Shell-backed Silicon Ranch acquires carbon offset firm Clearloop

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Silicon Ranch has more than 145 operational solar projects in the US. Image: Silicon Ranch.

US independent power producer Silicon Ranch has acquired Clearloop, a start-up that helps companies offset their carbon emissions by funding new solar projects.

Clearloop aims to build solar farms in communities that will reap the most economic benefits from that investment, and also where the projects will remove the most carbon from the grid. The company last month broke ground on a 1MW install in Tennessee that it said is the first solar plant in the US directly funded by solar offsets.

Silicon Ranch, which is backed by oil and gas major Shell, said the acquisition expands its offering to corporate buyers that are seeking a wider range of options to meet renewables targets and decarbonisation goals.

“Today, carbon is becoming an increasingly influential driver in corporate power purchasing decisions, creating an opportunity to decarbonise the grid at a faster pace and scale if we can expand opportunities for more companies to take action,” said Reagan Farr, Silicon Ranch CEO.

According to Clearloop, its mission of cleaning up the grid in US communities otherwise getting left behind by using carbon offsets ties the social benefits directly with the environmental and economic impacts of new renewables projects.

By directly linking new clean energy capacity to the carbon emissions avoided in communities where the solar projects are constructed, the partnership between Silicon Ranch and Clearloop has the potential to accelerate climate change mitigation efforts across the US, said the companies, which are both based in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Together, we will unlock even more innovation to support growing corporate climate ambitions and maximise the environmental, economic and social impact of solar development for communities across our country,” said Laura Zapata, Clearloop co-founder and CEO, who will continue to lead the business.

Since securing the backing of Shell in 2018, Silicon Ranch last year closed a US$225 million investment round to support its goal of building more than 1GW of solar projects. It now has over 145 operating solar facilities in more than 15 US states.

As part of efforts to diversify its business to have a “presence across the entire energy system”, Shell earlier this year said it would spend between US$2 billion and US$3 billion on renewables and energy solutions annually to help it reach net zero by 2050.

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