BP Solar will expand its cell manufacturing capacity in Spain.
Madrid, 22nd March 2007: BP Solar today announced that it has begun constructing a mega cell plant at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Madrid. For phase 1 of the Madrid expansion, BP Solar is aiming to expand its annual cell capacity from 55 MW to around 300 MW. This follows the announcement on 21st March of the construction of a similar facility in Bangalore, India.
The new cell lines use state-of-the-art screen printing technology, much of it proprietary to BP Solar. By fully automating wafer handling, the lines will be able to handle the very thinnest of wafers available and ensuring the highest possible quality.
Construction of the new Madrid manufacturing facility is already underway, with the first line expected to be fully operational before the summer. Construction has also begun on lines two and three. In addition to the new manufacturing lines, the Tres Cantos site will be remodelled to include a new photovoltaic (PV) systems prototype area, a visitor training centre and product testing and development facilities.
“The announcement of the two mega cell plants cements BP Solar’s commitment to maintain a market leadership position in PV” said Lee Edwards, BP Solar’s CEO. “The new cell technologies we are using, our intellectual property in casting with Mono2 and the contracts we have signed to secure preferential access to metallurgical grade silicon are all important steps towards our goal of offering customers PV-generated electricity on a par with the cost of conventional grid-supplied electricity.”
The Madrid mega cell plant will be one of the largest such facilities in Europe. Since the site was acquired by BP Solar in 2002, a tri-generation power plant has been built providing heat and power to the site. The facility is ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified.
BP Solar chose its Tres Cantos facility for one of its mega cell plants due to confidence in the growth projections of the European market. “We already have an established manufacturing presence in Madrid, a skilled and talented workforce, and direct access to some of the fastest growing PV markets in the world,” said Bertrand Boulin, BP Solar’s Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply.
Alfredo Barrios, President of the BP Group in Spain emphasised that, “choosing the Madrid site for one of BP Solar’s mega cell plants is fantastic news that underlines the BP Group’s backing of the development of the Solar Industry in Spain. It is also testament to the excellent work of BP employees and strong linkages fostered with the local authorities, showing the confidence BP has in the future of solar energy in Spain.”
Notes to Editors:
BP Solar is a key business within BP Alternative Energy and a global company with over 2200 employees focused on harnessing the sun's energy to produce solar electricity. This includes the design, manufacture and marketing of quality solar electric systems for a wide range of applications in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. With over 30 years of experience and installations in over 160 countries, BP Solar is one of the world's largest solar companies and has manufacturing facilities in Spain, the U.S., Australia, India and China. BP Solar is part of BP, one of the world's leading energy companies.
BP is one of the world’s largest energy companies, with interests in more than 100 countries and over 96,000 employees. BP Alternative Energy, formed in 2005, brings together BP’s interests in zero and low-carbon power generation: BP Solar, the company’s photovoltaic business; wind power generation; hydrogen power - which combines fossil fuel power generation with carbon capture and storage to provide extremely low carbon power; and BP’s natural gas-fired power interests. BP Alternative Energy has an active wind development portfolio in Europe, North America and Asia; the company’s hydrogen business includes two projects in Los Angeles and Peterhead Scotland; BP Solar is a leading global solar company; and BP participates in more than 13,000 MW of gas-fired generation around the world.