One of the largest solar energy companies in the world will quintuple its production facilities in Spain.MADRID, Spain, ES, 2001-07-10 [SolarAccess.com] One of the largest solar energy companies in the world will quintuple its production facilities in Spain. BP will spend US$100 million to acquire the semiconductor plant of Agere Systems in Madrid. The purchase will expand panel capacity by 500 percent and the strategy builds on existing manufacturing and marketing operations. The deal is expected to be finalized within a few months. The new facility will be one of the largest solar plants in the world, with annual production of 60 MW of high-efficiency crystalline silicon Saturn solar cells for sale around the world, with strong potential to meet the rapidly-growing demand for solar power in Europe. The plant will begin production by the end of next year, and will use state-of-the-art techniques to improve productivity, yield, cell efficiency and product performance. The facility will also have the potential to expand further. “Spain and the rest of Europe represent growing markets for solar power,” says BP Solar CEO Harry Shimp. “This project in Madrid will enable us to continue to play a leading role in meeting that demand.” The facility will not located north of Madrid, not far from BP Solar’s existing plant at Alcobendas. Six hundred new jobs will be created when the plant is fully operational. “Solar power is increasingly helping to meet the energy needs of the Spanish people, while protecting our environment,” adds BP Espana president Luis Javier Navarro. “BP is pleased to be part of this positive contribution to the lives of our fellow citizens.” Legislative protection provided to solar energy production in Spain was a main reason behind the purchase of the plant at Tres Cantos. BP claims to have 20 percent of the world market for PV. Last year, it sold $200 million in revenue and produced 40MW of PV equipment. It recently opened a new cell and module production plant in Sydney, Australia, and announced plans in April to build a module assembly facility in Lower Saxony, Germany. It also has crystalline silicon manufacturing sites in the United States and India, and two thin-film solar plants in Virginia and California.