Total to Boost Solar Investment

Total to Boost Solar InvestmentTotal to Boost Solar Investment

Solar energy could account for up to 15% of French oil major Total's assets by 2030, Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said in an interview. Pouyanne, who was appointed CEO a little more than a year ago, said Total had invested $3 billion in solar, which now accounts for 3% of the group's assets, Reuters reported.

"We believe this is a growing market and that, in about 15 years, it will no longer be 3% of our portfolio, but about 10 to 15%," he was quoted as saying.

Total, which has a market capitalization of €112 billion ($120 billion), entered the solar business with a $1.3 billion 2011 takeover of US company SunPower Corp. in one of the biggest moves by an oil and gas major into the renewable energy industry. While Pouyanne acknowledged that oil and gas still account for about 40% of the world's CO2 emissions, he said coal is by far the bigger polluter and that gas-generated electricity emits half as much CO2 as coal-generated power.

"Coal is the number one troublemaker, the enemy, so to speak," he said, adding that Total is becoming more and more focused on gas.

He also said Total tests the profitability of all its investment projects by integrating a CO2 cost of €25 per ton.

Pouyanne noted that he did not believe there should be a global CO2 price but said that there should be a carbon-pricing mechanism in as many regions of the world as possible.