Call it a sign of the times.

Renewable energy has gotten so cheap that even oil giant Exxon Mobil, which reported $20.8 billion in earnings in 2018, is getting in on the savings.

Over the next couple of years, Exxon Mobil will begin purchasing wind and solar power in West Texas, part of a 12-year agreement signed late last year with the Danish energy company Orsted. The plan is to use cheap, clean electricity to power Exxon Mobil’s expanding operations in the Permian Basin, one of the world’s most productive oil fields.

It’s not the first time economic considerations have led the company to explore the possibilities of solar.

Half a century ago — before climate change was a topic of much discussion and before Exxon was accused of deceiving shareholders and the public by downplaying the risks of climate change, prompting investigations and lawsuits — the company then known as Jersey Standard funded groundbreaking research into solar photovoltaic technology, which converts sunlight into electricity.

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