San Francisco, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] BP Solar confirmed that it has completed it restructuring efforts that included stopping production at its facility in Maryland. Silicon casting, wafering, and cell manufacturing at the plant ended in late March. Approximately 320 positions will be eliminated out of 430 positions at the Frederick location. BP Solar also said that it will maintain its U.S. presence in sales and marketing, research and technology and project development.
“This was a difficult decision and we deeply regret the impact it will have on our employees and the community. We have a long history in Frederick and I am thankful for the support of all our colleagues, the community and local, state and federal officials,” said Reyad Fezzani, CEO of BP Solar.
All impacted eligible employees will continue to receive full pay and benefits for three months, followed by severance packages, job placement assistance and transitional resources. With the closure of high cost manufacturing locations, which began in Q1 2009, the company has reduced unit costs by more than 45 percent and said that it is positioned to continue to profitably grow its worldwide market share.
“Solar prices declined between 40 and 50 percent since the onset of the financial and economic crisis, compressing industry margins and driving solar power towards grid competitive pricing,” Fezzani said. “By shifting our supply to a high quality, low cost supply base to serve both distribution customers and large scale projects, we have strengthened our position as a provider of competitive solar solutions with our offer of the highest lifetime value.
The company recently completed the largest US rooftop solar installation at FedEx Ground’s Woodbridge, New Jersey facility, and 17 rooftop installations at Wal-Mart stores in California. Construction will begin later this year on the largest solar installation in New York state (32 MW) for the Long Island Power Authority on the grounds of Brookhaven National Lab.
Fezzani noted that some 70 percent of solar industry jobs are in design, installation and maintenance. As a major project developer, BP Solar will be helping to create hundreds of these new jobs here in America and worldwide. Following its success in Germany, Spain and Australia, the company has announced the launch of its Certified Installer Program in the US, recently training 150 installers with plans to expand the program as the market grows.
“The global solar market is expected to reach 12 GW in 2012 with the US growing to nearly 3 GW, and we are scaling up our supply chain to serve this rapid growth here in the US, in the European, and Asian markets,” Fezzani said.