23 March 2007 – BP Solar has announced that it has begun constructing a mega cell plant at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Madrid that will raise capacity to 300 MW.
For phase one of the Madrid expansion, BP Solar is aiming to expand its annual cell capacity from 55 MW to around 300 MW. This follows the announcement on 21st March of the construction of a similar facility in Bangalore, India.
The new cell lines use state-of-the-art screen printing technology, much of it proprietary to BP Solar. By fully automating wafer handling, the lines will be able to handle the very thinnest of wafers available and ensuring the highest possible quality.
Construction of the new Madrid manufacturing facility is already underway, with the first line expected to be fully operational before the summer. Construction has also begun on lines two and three.
In addition to the new manufacturing lines, the Tres Cantos site will be remodelled to include a new photovoltaic (PV) systems prototype area, a visitor training centre and product testing and development facilities.
“The announcement of the two mega cell plants cements BP Solar’s commitment to maintain a market leadership position in PV” said Lee Edwards, BP Solar’s CEO.
“The new cell technologies we are using, our intellectual property in casting with Mono2 and the contracts we have signed to secure preferential access to metallurgical grade silicon are all important steps towards our goal of offering customers PV-generated electricity on a par with the cost of conventional grid-supplied electricity.”
The Madrid mega cell plant will be one of the largest such facilities in Europe. Since the site was acquired by BP Solar in 2002, a tri-generation power plant has been built providing heat and power to the site.