BP Solar to Stop Producing Solar Modules

BP Solar has announced plans to close its US manufacturing facility and will be refocusing its business from making solar panels to developing solar power projects.

By way of a statement sent to its partners, the company explained that it had made the strategic decision in order to profitably grow over the long term.

“We are going to exit our module-only sales through our distribution network,” said spokesman Pete Resler.

“Looking at the market today we think we can have a much stronger business going forward focusing on developing projects,” he added.

A company statement said it would continue to meet all warranty obligations offered to distribution partners, as well as to installers and customers.

Prices on solar modules have plummeted in recent years and many module manufacturers, such as SunPower Corp and First Solar, have taken to acquiring project developers in the last few years. By gaining exposure in that area of the solar market it effectively creates a reliable channel of demand for their solar products.

BP’s facility in Frederick, Maryland is set to close by the end of the first quarter of 2012. At its peak the facility had several hundred employees, which has decreased significantly to just eighty.

The announcement has come as a shock to many in the industry, with some criticising the company for its short-sighted decision. However other industry insiders said they expected the turn of events, stating it was an inevitable move by BP Solar in order to compete with an aggressive and fast-paced module development market.

BP Solar has about 120 megawatts of solar projects under construction around the world.

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