BP Solar

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BP Solar
Industry Solar Energy
Founded 1981 (1981)
Defunct December 21, 2011 (2011-12-21)
Headquarters Madrid, Spain
Parent BP
Website www.bpsolar.com

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.[1][2] Operating since 1981 when BP acquired initially 50% of Lucas Energy Systems to become Lucas BP Solar Systems,[3] 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.[4] The whole company was closed on 21 December 2011.[5]

Photovoltaic industry[edit]

A photovoltaic (PV) module that is composed of multiple PV cells. Two or more interconnected PV modules create an array.

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.[6]

PV power plants[edit]

There are several PV power plants of megawatt capacity which use BP solar modules.[citation needed] These include:

Projects in developing countries[edit]

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.[citation needed]

New battery technology[edit]

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.[7]

Sale by BP[edit]

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.[8] 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[9]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]