Sydney, Australia [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] As part of its plan to expand global capacity from 90 to 200 MW by 2006, BP Solar announced the expansion of its Sydney manufacturing facility. The expansion increases production capacity at the Sydney Olympic Park plant from 40 MW to 50 MW at an investment of AUD 8 million dollars (US $6.33 million).“This is a very proud moment for us,” said Mark Twidell, BP Solar’s regional director, Australasia “The expansion of this facility demonstrates the commitment by the BP Solar group to grow their supply of solar renewable energy to this emerging sector. This is good news for our staff, our business partners and the environment The investment will maintain the facility as the largest solar manufacturing plant in the southern hemisphere and is driven by the growing export market. “Solar energy is a vital component of the Australia Government’s AUD $1.8 billion dollar commitment to address climate change,” said the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell. “The AUD $75 million Solar Cities Program will provide another major opportunity for the industry to expand with confidence”. The company cited government support such as the Solar Cities initiative and the Commonwealth’s highly successful Photovoltaic Rebate Program (PVRP) as integral to their success and ability to expand their plant. “These (programs) help both attract investment and address the barriers limiting the uptake of this emerging technology,” Twidell said. “PVRP is vital to the development of a strong and robust local industry base that today employs over 1200 people across Australia.” BP Solar was named NSW Energy Exporter of the Year in the 2004 Premier’s Exporter of the Year Awards. BP Solar has been operating in Australia for over 20 years and are based in Sydney Olympic Park where they recorded over AUD$90 million in export sales in 2004.