BP Solar To Stop Module Assembly in Maryland

In an effort to cut costs in a tough economic climate, BP Solar announced plans to restructure its global manufacturing activities by closing plants and eliminating jobs. The company said that this will reduce its unit costs by 25 percent by the end of 2010.

“The decision is part of our long term strategy to grow our solar business by reducing the cost of solar power to that of conventional electricity delivered through a modern power grid, and in time without the need for government subsidy,” said Reyad Fezzani, CEO of BP Solar.

As a result of the decision, module assembly at Frederick, Maryland will be phased out. Silicon casting, wafering, sizing and solar cell production will continue. The end of module assembly at Frederick will result in the elimination of approximately 140 jobs out of around 600. Workers at the plant were informed of the company’s decision earlier in the week.

Also this week, the company also announced the closure of its solar cell manufacturing and module assembly facilities in Madrid, Spain with the loss of approximately 480 positions out of 575. All affected eligible employees will receive job placement assistance and transitional resources.

“We deeply regret the impact of this business decision on our employees and the local community,” Fezzani said. “We have a long history at both the Frederick and Madrid sites. Competitive high-tech manufacturing of ingots, wafers and cells will continue at Frederick. Engineering, technology product development, sales and marketing and other business support functions will also remain at both Frederick and Madrid.”

In 2009 BP Solar said that it has the raw material resources and capability to manufacture and sell up to 320 megawatts in modules, a 100 percent increase from 2008.

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