Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

BP Will Close its Solar Division

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Solar panel installation.

The British oil company, BP, is shutting down its solar power operation BP Solar, Bloomberg reported today. BP is the second-largest oil company in Europe.

The company said it was closing down its solar division after 40 years because it has become unprofitable. BP Solar’s end will affect about 100 employees, the company said in an internal letter to employees. More from Bloomberg:

BP Solar is the latest victim in a solar market that is facing oversupply and price pressures since Asian manufacturers started ramping up. Crashing module prices helped tip three U.S. makers including Solyndra LLC into bankruptcy this year, and Solon SE, Germany’s first listed solar company, filed for insolvency last week.

The company’s solar division hasn’t manufactured much in the way of solar panels since 2009, Bloomberg says. Then it closed several factories in Spain and eliminated 480 jobs when the Spanish stock market nosedived, “triggering the industry’s first period of strong oversupply.” BP decided in July to stop manufacturing solar projects. The company said in the internal memo that its other renewable projects will remain, among them wind and biofuel.


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