BP Solar to Welcome Governor O'Malley at Groundbreaking Ceremony to Celebrate Multi-Million Dollar Expansion Project and Contribution to Maryland Solar Schools Program

Expansion investment boosted from $70 million to $97 million to increase

capacity, create new jobs, and use sustainable building techniques

$100,000 Commitment to Maryland Solar Schools Program

Jul 16, 2007, 01:00 ET from BP Solar

    FREDERICK, Md., July 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- BP Solar and Maryland
 Governor Martin O'Malley break ground today on what is now a $97 million
 expansion project that will further bolster the facility's output of solar
 energy products. Already the largest fully integrated solar plant in North
 America, the plan is to nearly double the current casting and sizing
 capacity to approximately 150 MW and will create approximately 70 new jobs.
     (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000724/NYM120LOGO )
     Exactly nine months ago, the company announced it would invest $70
 million in the project. That figure has now been increased to $97 million,
 which will allow for space to further enlarge its manufacturing capacity to
 400+ MW in its casting, sizing, and wafering processes. Construction is
 slated for completion by the end of 2009.
     This project is part of a larger growth plan for BP Solar globally.
 Earlier this year, the company announced it began construction on two mega
 cell plants -- one at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Spain, and
 the second at its joint venture facility, Tata BP Solar, in Bangalore,
     "Expanding our Frederick plant ensures that BP Solar stays at the
 forefront of the global solar industry by meeting demand, providing
 innovative products to our current customer base, and allowing us to enter
 new markets," said Lee Edwards, BP Solar CEO. "We recognize that in order
 to do business in the long term we must respect the broader needs of
 communities where we operate and be good corporate citizens. So, to
 complement our expansion plans, we will integrate sustainable building
 techniques such as a roof garden, bio- retention, extensive water recycling
 and the implementation of LEED(TM) (Leadership in Energy and Environmental
 Design) design components such as energy efficient lighting, cooling and
     Furthermore, to help educate Maryland students about the importance of
 solar energy, BP announces it will contribute $100,000 to the Maryland
 Solar Schools program. Administered by the Solar Schools Foundation, the
 program assists schools in the installation of solar electric systems,
 provides curriculum guidance, technical assistance, and can provide limited
 grants to help defray the high upfront cost of solar.
     "I am proud to be here today to celebrate the expansion of BP Solar in
 the State of Maryland," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "By capitalizing on
 Maryland's existing renewable industry and recently enacted legislation to
 promote solar and wind energy, I hope to make Maryland the engine of the
 renewable energy economy. Today, BP is helping to lead the way by using
 sustainable building techniques and investing $100,000 in Maryland's Solar
 Schools Program."
     In April, Gov. O'Malley signed into law Senate Bill 595, which
 establishes a market for solar power and encourages homeowners, businesses
 and others to invest in roof-top systems to lower their electricity bills.
     "Solar energy is an important option to address rising electricity
 rates," said Edwards. "With its recently-passed legislation, Maryland is
 now among a number of states across the country with programs to promote
 the installation of clean and reliable solar power. At a time when
 electricity rates are increasing, this legislation allows homeowners to
 reduce their power bills through their own solar system on their home."
     BP Solar is a key business within BP Alternative Energy and a global
 company with over 2,200 employees focused on harnessing the sun's energy to
 produce solar electricity. This includes the design, manufacture and
 marketing of quality solar electric systems for a wide range of
 applications in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. With
 over 30 years of experience and installations in over 160 countries, BP
 Solar is one of the world's largest solar companies and has manufacturing
 facilities in the U.S., Spain, India and Australia. BP Solar is part of BP,
 one of the world's leading energy companies. To learn more, visit
     Before-and-after artist's rendering of the site is available upon
     Notes to Editors
     Casting and sizing are the initial stages in the production of a solar
 cell. Casting refers to the act of melting small pieces of silicon, the raw
 material, and cooling it to form a large block of silicon. This block is
 called an ingot. The ingot is then cut into bricks - a process called
 sizing. The bricks are then cut into very thin silicon wafers that are used
 for solar cell production.
     BP is one of the world's largest energy companies, with interests in
 more than 100 countries and over 96,000 employees. BP Alternative Energy,
 formed in 2005, brings together BP's interests in zero and low-carbon power
 generation: BP Solar, the company's photovoltaic business; wind power
 generation; hydrogen power -- which combines fossil fuel power generation
 with carbon capture and storage to provide extremely low carbon power; and
 BP's natural gas-fired power interests. BP Alternative Energy has an active
 wind development portfolio in Europe, North America and Asia; the company's
 hydrogen business includes a project in Los Angeles; BP Solar is a leading
 global solar company; and BP participates in more than 13,000 MW of
 gas-fired generation around the world. www.bpalternativenergy.com
     Information on the Maryland Solar Schools Program can be found here
     Information on the LEED program can be found here