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BP Solar Cuts 320 Jobs in Maryland

BP Solar announced Friday that it will close its Frederick, Maryland manufacturing plant, eliminating 320 positions. Approximately 110 sales, marketing, and research and development jobs will be retained during the cost reduction, according to spokesman Pete Resler.

The falling price of solar-power modules forced BP to move its U. S. production to cheaper sites in China and India.

State Senator David Brinkley called the company's announcement "a big hit" to the local economy.

Solar panel prices have dropped by nearly half over the past 18 months to an amount similar to producing electricity from fossil fuels, according to BP CEO Reyad Fezzani. Last year, BP's global sales rose more than 26 percent, and it expects sales growth of more than 50 percent for 2010.

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