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BP said the solar business, which has been flooded by excess supply from China, has become commoditized.

BP exited thin films years ago. They, at the time, said:

BP Solar decided to close down production of its thin-film amorphous silicon and cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar panels to focus on crystalline-silicon technologies. “While the thin-film technology continues to show promise, lack of present economics does not allow for continued investment,” said Harry Shimp, BP Solar’s president and chief executive officer.

From the same article:

BP’s decision is a setback to the marketing of new thin-film solar technologies. However, First Solar, LLC (Perrysburg, OH), a major maker of CdTe solar cells, remains strongly committed to the technology.

And, as they say, the rest is history. First Solar had it right. BP wasn't wrong. Crystalline didn't die. BP just didn't have what it took for success.

BP bought its way into solar with Amoco. Amoco and Enron owned industry biggie Solarex. BP bought Enron's 50% and together with Amoco's 50% BP's solar business was #1 in world production for a short time.

For BP to exit the business is sheer proof that "deep pockets" is not any answer for success -- even if you buy the biggest and best (for a time) in the business.

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