From today’s Guardian (UK):
BP is to axe 620 jobs from its solar power business – more than a quarter of that workforce – in a move it said was part of the long-term strategy to “reduce the cost of solar power to that of conventional electricity.”
Two cell manufacture and module assembly plants near Madrid, will be shut with the loss of 480 posts while module assembly will also be phased out at its Frederick facility in Maryland, US, with a further 140 redundancies.
BP blamed the cutbacks on the credit crunch and lower-cost competition saying its global manufacturing capacity would still increase during this year and next via a series of strategic alliances with other companies.
“We deeply regret the impact of this business decision on our employees and the local communities,” said Reyad Fezzani, chief executive of BP Solar. “We have a long history at both the Madrid and Frederick sites. Competitive hi-tech manufacturing of ingots, wafers and cells will continue at Frederick. Engineering, technology product development, sales and marketing and other business support functions will also remain at both Frederick and Madrid.”
He said solar markets had been “unsettled by the impact of the global economic environment”, adding that the market had been over-supplied as competition increased and prices had fallen.
Fezzani said the cuts would lead to lower prices for solar power: “The decision is part of the long term strategy to reduce the cost of solar power to that of conventional electricity.”
Perhaps the green job-less in Maryland can find work with President Obama’s stimulus bill program to caulk and weather-strip American homes.