• 3 minutes Shale Oil Fiasco
  • 7 minutes "Leaked" request by some Democrats that they were asking Nancy to coordinate censure instead of impeachment.
  • 12 minutes Trump's China Strategy: Death By a Thousand Paper Cuts
  • 16 minutes Global Debt Worries. How Will This End?
  • 4 mins DUMB IT DOWN-IMPEACHMENT
  • 1 hour Greta named Time Magazine "Person of the Year"
  • 1 hour Everything you think you know about economics is WRONG!
  • 11 mins POTUS Trump signs the HK Bill
  • 19 hours americavchina.com
  • 21 hours WTO is effectively neutered. Trump *already* won the trade war against China and WTO is helpless to intervene
  • 54 mins Forget The Hype, Aramco Shares May be Valued At Zero Next Year
  • 20 hours Democrats through impeachment process helped Trump go out of China deal conundrum. Now Trump can safely postpone deal till after November 2020 elections
  • 2 hours Winter Storms Hitting Continental US
  • 47 mins Aramco Raises $25.6B in World's Biggest IPO
  • 11 hours Can Renewable Natural Gas Compete With Diesel?
Energy Digital

Energy Digital

Energy Digital is a leading digital media source of news and content for C-level executives focused on business and all aspects of managing the environment.…

More Info

Premium Content

BP Closes its Solar Business After 40 Years

After 40 years, BP exits its solar business in the face of fierce competition. Are they to blame?

If "BP" is short for Beyond Petroleum, it will have to change its name to just "P" now after it officially shut down its solar business last month, a key division in its quest to develop cleaner sources of energy. After 40 years, the final decision to shut the door on solar mostly comes from the impossible competition faced from China.

With the growth of Chinese manufacturing, a global surplus of panels and the subsequent collapse in prices, many solar companies have similarly been forced out of business over the last year.

"The continuing global economic challenges have significantly impacted the solar industry, making it difficult to sustain long term returns for the company, despite our best efforts," BP said in an internal letter to staff.

“Over the last six months we have realized that we simply can't make any money from solar,” a spokesman added.

Around 100 staff will be affected internationally and BP's remaining solar interests will be sold, but at least the proceeds will go towards BP's efforts to help recover some of the costs from last year's devastating explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Furthermore, BP says its move away from solar won't necessarily mean a move away from its broader interests in renewable energy. In 2005, the company said it planned on investing $8 billion in alternative energy by 2015. Thus far, $7 billion has been invested in its U.S. wind power portfolio and biofuels business.

So can you blame BP?

Just as important is BP's failure to capitalize on innovative technologies that would have allowed the company to profit in the solar market. Nathan Stoddard, one BP's own researchers, invented a new way to make silicon wafers for solar cells that significantly cut the cost of high efficiency silicon solar panels. The technology was originally developed in 2006, but never fully commercialized.

Instead, the company spent the next three years in a testing phase, showing it off at trade shows, and shut down its manufacturing operations in 2010. The rights were then sold to the Dutch company AMG.

Publicizing the new technology and failing to mass produce the panels allowed others to swoop in and replicate similar concepts elsewhere. Although AMG has resumed development of the technology, the solar market is stalled and its efforts appear to be too little, too late.

By. Carin Hall of Energy Digital




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment
  • Reka on February 27 2012 said:
    Reduce our need for fsisol fuels, How??? start buying from local farmers and not big mass producers like Mansanto which use more petrolium than americans use gas.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play