The company will lay off 320 of its 430 Frederick employees and tear down the building. BP Solar’s remaining in-house manufacturing will be shifted to joint ventures with Tata Power Company (BOM: 500400) in Bangalore, India, and SunOasis in Xian, China.
“Solar prices declined between 40 and 50 percent since the onset of the financial and economic crisis, compressing industry margins and driving solar power towards grid competitive pricing,” Reyad Fezzani, CEO of BP Solar, said. “By shifting our supply to a high quality, low cost supply base to serve both distribution customers and large scale projects, we have strengthened our position as a provider of competitive solar solutions with our offer of the highest lifetime value.”
By abandoning such high cost manufacturing locations, the company has reduced unit costs by more than 45 percent and is optimistic about being able to increase its worldwide market share.
The company told the Washington Post that the U.S. market, which grew 87 percent in 2008, was almost flat in 2009, and that prices for solar modules declined almost 50 percent. In contrast, for 2009, BP Solar announced it increased global sales by over 26 percent and expects to grow in excess of 50 percent in 2010.
Fezzani noted that some 70 percent of solar industry jobs are in design, installation and maintenance. As a major project developer, BP Solar will be helping to create hundreds of these new jobs here in America and worldwide. Following its success in Germany, Spain and Australia, the company has announced the launch of its Certified Installer Program in the US, recently training 150 installers with plans to expand the program as the market grows.
“The global solar market is expected to reach 12 GW in 2012 with the US growing to nearly 3 GW, and we are scaling up our supply chain to serve this rapid growth here in the US, in the European, and Asian markets,” said Fezzani.
The company is bringing its worldwide experience gained over 37 years as a solar product supplier and developer to both develop larger scale projects ranging from 1-300MW in size and supply distribution partners serving residential and smaller commercial segments.
The company recently completed the largest US rooftop solar installation at FedEx Ground’s Woodbridge, NJ facility, and 17 rooftop installations at Wal-Mart stores in California. Construction will begin later this year on the largest solar installation in New York state (32 MW) for the Long Island Power Authority on the grounds of Brookhaven National Lab.
Image courtesy of WestendRaider
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