|Defunct||December 21, 2011|
BP Solar, a former subsidiary of BP, was a manufacturer and installer of photovoltaic solar cells headquartered in Madrid, Spain, with production facilities in India and the People's Republic of China. Operating since 1981 when BP acquired initially 50% of Lucas Energy Systems to become Lucas BP Solar Systems, the company became wholly owned by BP in the mid-1980s. In 1999 it increased its stake in the American Solarex plant to 100%, but by 2010 it was closing down the factory at Frederick, Maryland. The whole company was closed on 21 December 2011.
The international photovoltaic industry provides solar cells to convert light into electricity. Driven by concerns about global warming and energy security, and with technological advances reducing prices, the market is growing by about 25% each year. The composition of demand is also changing. In the 1980s and early 1990s, most photovoltaic modules provided remote area power supply or powered consumer products such as watches, calculators and toys, but from around 1995, industry efforts have focused increasingly on developing building-integrated photovoltaics and power plants for grid connected applications.
PV power plants
There are several PV power plants of megawatt capacity which use BP solar modules. These include:
- Bürstadt, Germany — 5 MW from 30,000 modules
- Springerville, Arizona, USA — 4.59 MW from 34,980 modules
- Geiseltalsee, Germany — 4 MW from 25,000 modules
- Long Island, New York, USA — 32 MW from 164,312 modules
Projects in developing countries
BP Solar had many projects and co-operative activities in developing countries, including supplying power to 36,000 homes in rural Indonesia, installing 1000 solar devices to provide power to 400 remote villages in the Philippines, and setting up a rural electrification scheme in Malaysia to provide power to 30,000 remote homes in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.
New battery technology
BP Solar (with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation — CSIRO) was also involved in the commercialization of a long life deep cycle lead acid battery, which is well suited to the storage of electricity for renewable remote area power systems (RAPS). This GreenGel battery, and CSIRO's new battery charging procedures, will reduce capacity loss and premature failure sometimes encountered with existing battery technology. A significant component of the project will be the establishment of an innovative manufacturing process to enable the production of these advanced batteries at an internationally competitive price, facilitating a major export market.
Sale by BP
BP announced in 2011 that it was "winding down" its solar operation, because it was unable to continue getting sufficient return from the solar business and was concentrating on the biofuel and wind sectors of the alternative energy business, where it was expecting more growth. The R&D staff and physical assets of BP Solar UK were sold in 2004 to the UK's National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec). In 2013, because Narec had become a centre purely for offshore renewable energy devices, the solar part of Narec, by then known as Narec Solar, became the company Solar Capture Technologies
- Green technology
- List of photovoltaics companies
- Photovoltaic array
- Photovoltaic power stations
- Renewable energy
- Solar power
- Solar shingle
- Solar tracker
- Timeline of solar energy
- Solar Power Profitability: BP Solar
- BP and Lucas form solar company
- Mulliken, Bruce. "SOLAREX FADES AWAY". Retrieved Mar 15, 2013.
- Bergin, Tom; Young, Sarah (2011-12-21). "BP turns out lights at solar business". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
- Solar Integrated in New Jersey
- Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme
- "BP is winding down its solar operations". Retrieved 2013-03-15.
- "Solar Capture Technologies - PVTC". Retrieved 2013-05-07.
- BP Alternative Energy site (original BP Solar site defunct; redirect)
- BP Solar to expand its solar cell plants
- Australia's largest city solar project contract awarded
- BP Plans to Invest $1.5 Billion in Alternative Energy
- Solar Capture Technologies, the company formed from BP Solar UK