BP Solar is withdrawing from the solar industry after operating in the market for nearly 40 years. The move follows the closing of BP’s manufacturing bases in America, Spain and Australia as well as a decision to shun the residential market in favour of large-scale projects this summer.

Mike Petrucci, President and CEO for BP Solar, told staff in an internal letter last week that: “The continuing global economic challenges have significantly impacted the solar industry, making it difficult to sustain long-term returns for the company,”

It is thought that 100 jobs will be affected by the move to shut down BP’s solar department. BP has blamed the rapid commoditisation of lower-cost PV manufactured in Asia for rendering its solar offering unviable.

A BP spokesman commented that: “Over the last six months we have realised that we simply can’t make any money from solar, it has become a commoditised business. You cannot be a specialist anymore.”

BP will sell its stakes in all of its solar projects, a total of 158MW of installed capacity. The decision to leave the solar market will not affect BP’s other renewable departments, including its wind operation.

A BP spokesman added: “BP’s goal is to profitably grow in specific segments of the energy industry. This decision was very difficult given the company's nearly 40-year history in solar energy.”