This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
BP Solar to Boost U.S. Production of Solar Cells and Modules
BP Solar announced on October 20th that it will more than double its capability to produce solar cells and modules at its Frederick, Maryland, facility. The company will invest $25 million in the plant expansion, which will begin before year-end and be completed by the end of 2005. BP Solar will also increase employment at the plant by 28 percent. The expansion is part of BP Solar's plan to increase its global production capacity from 90 megawatts of solar cells per year to 200 megawatts per year by the end of 2006.
BP Solar will also grow the U.S. market for solar energy systems by expanding its efforts to offer solar power through The Home Depot. The two companies are currently offering complete solar power systems for homes at selected Home Depot stores in southern California, but plan to expand the program to another 40 stores in that region in November. In 2005, the companies will expand the program to stores in places such as northern California, New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii.
BP has also become a major sponsor of DOE's 2005 Solar Decathlon, in which teams of students from 19 colleges and universities will construct solar-powered homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and compete in 10 contests over the course of 10 days. In addition to BP, the Solar Decathlon is sponsored by DOE in partnership with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory, The Home Depot, the National Association of Home Builders, and the American Institute of Architects. See the BP Solar press release and the Solar Decathlon Web site.