The Australian, November 18, 2008http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,28124,24668506-36418,00.html
BP will shut down its solar power production plant in Sydney to focus on larger-scale plants in lower-cost manufacturing countries.
In a statement today, BP said it will stop producing solar photovoltaic power cells at the plant in Sydney's Olympic Park at the end of March, with the closure resulting in about 200 job losses.
"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," BP solar chief executive Reyad Fezzani said.
"To do this we need to expand at scale and reduce costs."
Mr Fezzani said it was "a sad day" for BP and the Sydney plant, but the site's physical location, lack of expansion potential and lease agreements made it uncompetitive.
"The modern Solar PV manufacturing plants are up to 20 times larger than our Sydney site and we are competing in a global market," Mr Fezzani said.
BP said it is investing about $US1.5 billion globally each year in alternative energy sources.
BP Solar also has manufacturing operations in Spain, India, China and the US.
Last year, it commenced an expansion of its solar cell manufacturing capacity at its European headquarters in Madrid, and at its Indian solar joint venture, Tata BP Solar, in Bangalore.
Dow Jones Newswires
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