No Longer Smoking: BP Solar Gets Out of CIGS

Apr. 2.09 | About: BP p.l.c. (BP)

By Michael Kanellos

BP Solar yesterday said it would cut 620 jobs and outsource manufacturing, a shift in fortunes for the large manufacturer and a sign of the times.

But there was one more thing to mention. The company said in a phone call that it had dropped development of CIGS (cadmium indium gallium selenide) solar cells.

“We looked at it at one point in the lab, but are doing nothing with it now,” wrote a BP spokesman.

CIGS or CIS solar cells represent the future of thin film, according to advocates. These solar cells cost less than crystalline cells but are more efficient than amorphous silicon solar cells. Still, they aren’t easy to make. A few companies–Solyndra, Nanosolar–are manufacturing CIGS cells but in relatively limited quantities.

One of the big fears for the start-ups has been the impact of large manufacturers on the market. Honda and Shell are the two largest players with eyes on CIGS.

BP had been mentioned in the past as well-heeled company that could make an impact. But apparently not anymore.