Virginia BP Solar Facility Closes

After efforts failed to find a buyer for their thin film solar PV manufacturing facility in Toano, Virginia, BP Solar is initiating layoffs and shutting down the plant.

Toano, Virginia – January 10, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] This facility is closing as a result of BP Solar’s November decision to discontinue production of thin film PV in order to focus on crystalline-based PV technology. Manufacturing will cease at the Fairfield, California facility, which will be converted to serve as the company’s center for North American warehousing and distribution and remain the West Coast base for sales and marketing. Todd Foley, BP Solar’s director of external affairs and business development said the Fairfield sales and marketing operations will be expanding. The Toano plant will close down entirely unless any last minute bids prove fruitful, said Sarah Howell, director, Environmental and Corporate Communications, BP in New York. “We did receive a bid from an employee buy-out team but it lacked financial backing,” said Howell. “We’re still negotiating and we will entertain any other bids, but otherwise we’re initiating the shut-down process.” BP Solar had previously laid off 96 employees at the Fairfield facility along with 14 at the Toano facility in December. Since BP had not found a buyer for the Toano facility by 2003, the company has been forced to lay off more than 130 remaining employees. Although BP Solar’s business direction will focus exclusively on crystalline-based PV technology, thin film technology will still remain a component of the company’s long-term research and development, Howell said.
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