BP Solar to Invest $70 Million to Expand US Facility
Responds to growing demand for solar energy by nearly doubling capacity and creating new jobs
Frederick, MD, November 16, 2006: BP Solar today unveiled its plans for a $70 million expansion project at its North American headquarters in Frederick, MD. The expansion will result in nearly doubling the facility’s current casting and sizing capacity to approximately 150 MW. The company projects that 70 new jobs will be created. Other plans include an upgrade of the interior of the facility by employing sustainable design components.
Initial engineering feasibility studies into the project have already been completed and the company will now carry out detailed front-end engineering design work. This expansion will make BP Solar’s Frederick facility the largest fully integrated plant in North America.
“This is a significant investment in a world-class and well-established business,” said Bob Malone, chairman and president of BP America. “This expansion will keep us in command of a growing industry by meeting future demand and providing innovative products to the market.”
The expansion plans call for the construction of 140,000 square feet of new building space allowing the company to nearly double its casting, sizing, and wafering manufacturing capacity. Plans also include the relocation and integration of local warehousing and shipping facilities to the current site.
Construction is slated to begin in the first half of 2007 and finish by the end of 2008 pending approval of local permits.
According to Lee Edwards, BP Solar CEO, “In addition to expanding our manufacturing capacity, our plans are to upgrade the interior of the existing facilities and to use sustainable building techniques such as a roof garden, bio-retention, extensive water recycling and the utilization of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) design components such as energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling.”
Other planned improvements include additional office and meeting space, more daylight access to office and manufacturing facilities, an auditorium, and solar and environmental educational stations which will be available for tours and school groups.
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 the U.S., Spain, India and Australia. BP Solar is part of BP, one of the world’s leading energy companies. To learn more, visit www.bpsolar.us.
Artist’s rendering of the proposed new site is available upon request. Please contact the BP press office.
Notes to Editors Casting and sizing are the initial stages in the production of a solar cell. Casting refers to the act of melting small pieces of silicon, the raw material, and cools it to form a large block of silicon. This block is called an ingot. The ingot is then cut into bricks - a process called sizing. The bricks are then cut in to very thin silicon wafers that are used for solar cell production.
In 2003, BP Solar repositioned its business to improve its underlying economics, keep the business sustainable, and enable continued growth. This included a focus on solar market development in key US and European markets and exiting the manufacture of thin film products. This set off a series of investment strategies:
* In 2003, BP Solar took steps to improve its financial performance including a major reorganization to reduce levels of management, empower regions, increase customer focus and shift assets to support direct marketing programs.
* In 2004/05, BP Solar invested $25million to expand its Frederick casting and wafering capacity by 30% and to double its cell and module manufacturing capability, reaching a 40 MW runrate by the end of 2005.
* This increase supported a strategic growth plan to increase its global capacity from 90 MW to 200 MW by the end of 2006.
* Also at the end of 2005, BP signed a strategic joint venture with SunOasis to access China’s expanding solar market and provide local manufacturing capacity.
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.
BP Alternative Energy
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System(TM) is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
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