RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And the Solar energy business is growing quickly. But its future growth will not include oil giant BP. Yesterday, at an industry conference in Houston, the head of BP made it clear his company is done with solar.
NPR's Jeff Brady reports.
JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: BP made a big deal out of its Beyond Petroleum campaign, and 13 years back changed its logo to look like the sun. So this, from chief executive Bob Dudley, is striking.
BOB DUDLEY: We have thrown in the towel on solar. Not that solar energy isn't a viable energy source, but we worked at it for 35 years and we really never made money, so we have exited the solar business.
BRADY: That doesn't mean the solar industry is in trouble, though, says Rachel Shimshak with the Renewable Northwest Project.
RACHEL SHIMSHAK: I think there's a lot of competition in the solar business these days, which is a good thing.
BRADY: Thanks largely to manufacturing in Asia, prices for individual solar panels have fallen nearly 60 percent in the past two years. Now more people can afford to install panels. Still, less than one-half of one-percent of the country's electricity currently comes from solar.
Rhone Resch with the Solar Energy Industries Association says the rest of the electricity business has had a long time to grow.
RHONE RESCH: So, for the solar industry, which has really just caught hold in the last four or five years, it's going to take a few decades before we make a significant dent.
BRADY: While BP has thrown in the towel on solar, the company says it's still committed to other renewable resources, like wind and biofuels.
Jeff Brady, NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.