lego is buying US solar firm enerparc

Lego’s parent company Kirkbi is set to buy a majority stake in US solar firm Enerparc. The move comes as the Lego Group continues to buy in to renewable energy projects, both as long-term financial investments and to offset its own electricity usage.

The companies didn’t disclose any prices, but noted that Enerparc’s existing management will retain minority ownership of the company.

Lego’s investments in clean energy

Kirkbi is no stranger to clean energy investment. Since 2017, the Lego Group has actually offset 100% of all the energy it consumes with its investments in renewable energy. It met that goal three years ahead of its own schedule by getting involved with two large projects.

First, Kirkbi purchased a 32% stake in a 312 MW wind farm in Germany, for a total of about 160 MW of renewable energy. Next, it paid $500 million for a 25% stake in the UK’s massive 258 MW Burbo Bank Extension off-shore wind farm.

At that time, Lego CEO Bali Padda said, “We work to leave a positive impact on the planet and I am truly excited about the inauguration of the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm.”

Kirkbi was actually a founder of the project. The wind farm was a joint venture between Kirkbi and Danish Energy company Dong Energy, which has since changed its name to Orsted.

Offsetting a company’s entire electricity use is no easy (or cheap) feat. While a couple hundred companies have pledged to go 100% renewable as part of RE100, as of 2019 just a handful have accomplished the task – mostly big names like Google, Lyft, Apple, and Capital One.

Beyond its renewable energy investments, Lego is pushing renewable energy and sustainability through its products as well. The toy maker plans to use sustainable materials in all its products and packaging, and reach zero waste in operations, by 2030.

In 2018, Lego launched its first sustainably-made pieces – what it called ‘botanical elements’. The polyethylene plastic used in the pieces is made from sustainably-sourced sugarcane and includes leaves, bushes, and trees.

Lego VP Tim Brooks said, “At the LEGO Group we want to make a positive impact on the world around us… This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all LEGO bricks using sustainable materials.”

A few months later, in August 2018, Lego launched the first full set using these sustainable pieces, a  3-foot wind turbine that moves with a built-in motor (it doesn’t generate energy though). Lego designed the wind turbine kit in partnership with Vestas, a Danish wind turbine company with 101 GW of turbines in 80 countries around the globe.

Enerparc hopes to double capacity in 2019

Enerparc is US-based subsidiary of German solar developer Enerparc, which has operations worldwide. The company develops utility-scale photovoltaic solar projects and the US branch has deployed 100 MW of solar capacity – about the same as 16,000 residential installations – since it was founded in 2012.

In total, the global company has installed more than 2,200 MW of solar in 20 countries across Europe, Asia, and the US. That’s as much as 350,000 average roof-top solar installations or 245 million LED lightbulbs.

Enerparc describes itself as a one stop shop for utility-scale solar development and offers engineering and procurement services, O&M, and construction.

For the US branch, the company is based out of Oakland, CA. Enerparc owns and operates 80% of the 100 MW of solar deployed in the US, and is growing still. By the end of 2019, the company hopes to double that number to 200 MW.

Image Source: Courtesy Lego Media Library