BP to increase solar cell production

BP Solar is expanding the mega cell plant at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Madrid, with the aim of increasing its annual cell capacity from 55MW to around 300MW in phase 1. This follows the announcement on 21st March of the construction of a similar facility in Bangalore, India.



The new cell lines use screen-printing technology, much of it proprietary to BP Solar. By fully automating wafer handling, the lines will be able to handle the thinnest wafers available whilst 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 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. The facility is ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified.



According to BP Solar, the company chose its Tres Cantos facility for one of its mega cell plants due to confidence in the growth projections of the European market.