BP Plc has announced that it is withdrawing from the solar market and will wind down its solar unit over the next several months.

The company has confirmed that it plans to "exit" its large-scale projects at Long Haven in the U.S. and the Moree Solar Farm in Australia. The Moree Solar Farm was to be BP Solar’s largest ever project and one of the world’s largest solar farms.

BP also owns 51% of India’s third-biggest cell and panel manufacturer, Tata Power. But K. Subramanya, chief executive of Tata BP Solar India, said that Tata Power is continuing with business as usual.

An internal letter to BP Solar staff said that "The continuing global economic challenges have significantly impacted the solar industry, making it difficult to sustain long term returns for the company, despite our best efforts."

BP’s move is part of a major shake-up of the solar industry. In the last few months, Solyndra LLC in the US has closed and the German companies,Solar Millenium and Solon, have sought insolvency protection.

On the other hand Google, Warren Buffett, TransCanada and Total have all made large investments in the industry.

  • Google has agreed to purchase four Californian solar plants, bringing its investment in the industry to $915 million;
  • Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings is buying a $2 billion solar plant in California and 49% of another $1.8 billion plant in Arizona;
  • TransCanada is investing $470 billion in nine solar plants in Ontario; and
  • Total has purchased a 60% share of US solar panal manufacturer, SunPower Corp, for $1.4 billion.