BP Solar today announced it has taken another significant step to provide its customers with cost competitive solar energy products and services by shifting its remaining in-house manufacturing to its low cost joint ventures and regional supply partners. As a result of this decision, the company has ceased silicon casting, wafering, and cell manufacturing at its Frederick, MD facility effective today. Approximately 320 positions will be eliminated out of 430 positions at the Frederick location. BP Solar will maintain its US presence in sales and marketing, research and technology, project development, as well as key business support activities.
“This was a difficult decision and we deeply regret the impact it will have on our employees and the community. We have a long history in Frederick and I am thankful for the support of all our colleagues, the community and local, state and federal officials,” said Reyad Fezzani, CEO of BP Solar.
All impacted eligible employees will continue to receive full pay and benefits for three months, followed by severance packages, job placement assistance and transitional resources.
With the closure of high cost manufacturing locations, which began in 1Q 2009, the company has reduced unit costs by more than 45 percent and is positioned to continue to profitably grow its worldwide market share.
“Solar prices declined between 40 and 50 percent since the onset of the financial and economic crisis, compressing industry margins and driving solar power towards grid competitive pricing,” Fezzani said. “By shifting our supply to a high quality, low cost supply base to serve both distribution customers and large scale projects, we have strengthened our position as a provider of competitive solar solutions with our offer of the highest lifetime value.
“The global solar market is expected to reach 12 GW in 2012 with the US growing to nearly 3 GW, and we are scaling up our supply chain to serve this rapid growth here in the US, in the European, and Asian markets,” said Fezzani. The company is bringing its worldwide experience gained over 37 years as a solar product supplier and developer to both develop larger scale projects ranging from 1-300MW in size and supply distribution partners serving residential and smaller commercial segments.
In 2009, BP Solar announced it increased global sales by over 26 percent (versus market growth of six percent), and expects to grow in excess of 50 percent in 2010, exceeding predicted market growth.
The company recently completed the largest US rooftop solar installation at FedEx Ground’s Woodbridge, NJ facility, and 17 rooftop installations at Wal-Mart stores in California. Construction will begin later this year on the largest solar installation in New York state (32MW) for the Long Island Power Authority on the grounds of Brookhaven National Lab.
Fezzani noted that some 70 percent of solar industry jobs are in design, installation and maintenance. As a major project developer, BP Solar will be helping to create hundreds of these new jobs here in America and worldwide. Following its success in Germany, Spain and Australia, the company has announced the launch of its Certified Installer Program in the US, recently training 150 installers with plans to expand the program as the market grows.
BP Solar is also a major buyer of high grade silicon raw materials in the US.
All BP Solar branded products will continue to meet the company’s strict quality standards and will be backed by its leading energy warranty.
BP Solar, Pete Resler, 1 415 519-7637
BP America, Tom Mueller, 1 281 366-1236
BP Solar, part of BP Alternative Energy, is a global company with about 1,600 employees. BP Solar designs, manufactures and markets solar energy products and provides complete solar energy solutions for the residential, commercial, industrial and utility sectors. With over 37 years of experience and installations in most countries, BP Solar is one of the world's leading solar companies. BP Solar invests more than $10M annually in photovoltaic research and development.