BP Solar’s 50MW photovoltaic cell and module manufacturing plant in Sydney Olympic Park, Australia is to close at the end of March 2009, as the company focuses production at larger scale facilities in other parts of the world. Approximately 200 jobs will be affected by the closure, but BP Solar said it would continue to market and sell its solar systems in the country.
“The challenge for solar power is to reduce its costs to the level at which it competes on an equal footing with conventional electricity delivered through the power grid. To do this we need to expand at scale and reduce costs,” noted Reyad Fezzani, CEO of BP Solar. “We’ve looked at all options in our Sydney manufacturing site and the physical location, lack of expansion potential and lease agreements just don’t make it competitive: the most modern Solar PV manufacturing plants are up to twenty times larger than our Sydney site and we are competing in this global market.”
Fezzani also said that the solar market had become increasingly competitive as well as the challenges of the current economic climate. He reiterated that BP continues to invest around $1.5 billion US dollars in alternative energy and low carbon energy businesses annually.
BP Solar has been operating in Australia for more than 20 years.