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Citing Market Conditions, BP Solar Dismantles Factory Addition

bp solar buildingCiting changes in the solar panel market, BP Solar is starting to take down a $100 million, 140,000-square foot addition to a factory that was intended to produce more solar panels.

Instead, the remaining portion of the Frederick, Md., facility will focus on research and development and only minor first-stage assembly of panels, reports the Frederick News-Post.

BP Solar was about $30 million into the project, which broke ground in 2007. The company tried for some time to sell or lease the addition, but nothing came to fruition. Now, the dismantling is proceeding, with materials taken down to be recycled.

In a bid to keep the remainder of the BP Solar location viable, city officials are trying to sweeten the pot by attaining $13 million in state and federal incentives that would enable BP Solar to complete the transition of the factory to an R&D facility. Under that scenario, the area occupied by the soon-to-be-gone addition would be converted to a ground solar array, for testing of panels.

BP slowly has been scaling back its alternative and renewable energy operations.

In June, BP shuttered its alternative energy headquarters in London, accepted the resignation of the division’s managing director and announced budget cuts.

In April, the company closed several solar power manufacturing plants in Spain and the U.S. with the loss of 620 jobs and Hayward has publicly questioned whether solar would ever become competitive with fossil fuels, reports the newspaper. BP also has given up plans to enter the UK wind industry and concentrated all of its wind activities in the U.S.

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