BP calls time on its solar activities

7 January 2012

BP has blamed global economic challenges for its decision to exit the solar energy industry, but says it remains committed to investing in renewable energy.

The oil major says that the recession and falling prices for solar panels mean that it cannot make any money from the solar sector, where it was once a major player.

December also saw two solar energy companies file for insolvency in Germany – Solar Millennium and Solon. Several US solar energy firms have also filed for bankruptcy in recent months.

BP maintains that it is planning to spend $8 billion on renewable energy up to 2015, primarily in the US onshore wind energy market and biofuels.

The solar power market has been hit by intense competition from Chinese solar panel manufacturers and oversupply. Prices for photovoltaic panels in Europe have fallen by 50 per cent in the last five years, and are expected to continue declining, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).

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