The lights were turned off at BP Solar when parent BP pulled the plug on its solar business in late 2011. BP Solar designed, manufactured, supplied, and installed solar cells and modules. Facing stiff competition from Chinese manufacturers of solar components, BP Solar had been winding down its operations since 2008. It closed two plants in the US and Spain in 2009. BP Solar had sales offices in a dozen countries, but its two joint ventures -- one in India with Tata Power (called Tata BP Solar) and one in China with Xinjiang SunOasis (called BP SunOasis) -- remain in business. BP Solar sold its 32 MW solar farm for the Long Island Power Authority and its stake in the 150 MW Moree Solar Farm in Australia.
BP Solar was never profitable. BP's Alternative Energy division (including wind, biofuels, hydrogen power, and carbon capture and storage) accounted for less than 1% of BP's total revenues. The company manufactured 325 MW of solar panels in 2010, up 60% from the previous year. Still, BP Solar suffered from supply and demand -- too many Chinese manufacturers were able to saturate the market with lower-cost solar panels. Although BP Solar's price tag was generally more than its rivals, the company sold customers on the minimal degradation and longer life cycle of its panels, which came with a 25-year warranty.