BP Solar is expanding what is already the largest fully integrated solar plant in North America. On July 17 the company broke ground on a $97 million expansion project that will nearly double the current casting and sizing capacity to 150 MW and will create 70 new jobs. Construction is slated for completion by the end of 2009.
"We recognize that in order to do business in the long term we must respect the broader needs of communities where we operate and be good corporate citizens. So, to complement our expansion plans, we will integrate sustainable building techniques such as a roof garden, bio- retention, extensive water recycling and the implementation of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) design components such as energy efficient lighting, cooling and heating, " said Lee Edwards, BP Solar CEO.
Early this year BP Solar began construction on two mega cell plants -- one at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Spain, and the second at its joint venture facility, Tata BP Solar, in Bangalore, India.
BP also takes on some educational responsibilities with its $100,000 contribution to the Maryland Solar Schools program. Administered by the Solar Schools Foundation, the program assists schools in the installation of solar electric systems, provides curriculum guidance, technical assistance, and can provide limited grants to help defray the high upfront cost of solar.
In April, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed into law Senate Bill 595, which establishes a market for solar power and encourages homeowners, businesses and others to invest in roof-top systems to lower their electricity bills.
BP Solar is business within BP Alternative Energy and a global company with over 2,200 employees focused on harnessing the sun's energy to produce solar electricity. This includes the design, manufacture and marketing of quality solar electric systems for a wide range of applications in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. It has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Spain, India and Australia.