BP Solar is to invest around €28 million in two of its photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facilities located in Tres Cantos and San Sebastián de los Reyes near Madrid.

The extension to the BP Solar plant in Tres Cantos will comprise the construction of a new 20 MWp (MegaWatts Peak) manufacturing line for photovoltaic solar cells. This expansion, which began in the first quarter of this year, will take around 18 months to complete and involves an investment of approximately €24 million.

Once commissioned, the total output from Tres Cantos will be increased from currently 30MWp to around 50 MWp of photovoltaic solar cells.

The new solar cell manufacturing line will use “Screen Print” technology, which has the capacity to process and manufacture monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells. The project will also include adding additional services infrastructure to accommodate another 20 MWp of capacity.

The expansion plans announced also involve the module assembly plant at San Sebastián de Los Reyes. This manufacturing facility, which assembles solar cells into panels, currently has a capacity of 25 MWp per year which will now increase to 50MWp. This will involve an investment of €4 million and the project is due to be completed during the first quarter of 2006.

“These new lines represent another step forward in the development of the photovoltaic market in Europe, led by Germany with around 300 MWp installed in 2004 and Spain which is forecast to at least double in size in 2005” said Charles Postles, BP Solar’s European Regional Director.

The expansion of BP Solar facilities in Spain is part of the company’s global manufacturing strategy to more than double current manufacturing capacity to reach the target figure of 200 MWp by 2006.