BP Solar builds in Spain one of the largest solar cell plants in Europe
BP Solar, a division of BP, announced on March 22 that it has begun constructing a mega cell plant at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Madrid. The company is aiming to expand its annual cell capacity from 55 megawatt (MW) to around 300 MW.
BP Solar´s activities in Spain go way back, since it arrived in the country in 1982. The other two largest solar cell manufacturers in the country are Atersa and Isofoton. Coincidentally, Isofoton inaugurated a 200 MW manufacturing plant last year as well, so this announcement is yet another confirmation of the good perspectives perceived for solar industry in the country, both as a market and a manufacturing base.
Bertrand Boulin, BP Solar’s vice president of Manufacturing and Supply alluded to their confidence in the growth projections of the European market. “We already have an established manufacturing presence in
Madrid, a skilled and talented workforce, and direct access to some of the fastest growing PV markets in the world” he said.
The new cell lines will use state-of-the-art screen-printing technology, according to the company. By fully automating wafer handling, the lines will be able to handle the very thinnest of wafers available and ensuring the highest possible quality. The first line is expected to be operational before the summer.
Earlier this week the company announced the construction of a similar facility in Bangalore, through its Joint venture with Tata.
BP Solar is also very active in the US. It is one of the 13 companies recently selected by the DOE to receive funding for its R+D program aimed at decreasing the cost of solar cells and increasing their efficiency