British hydrocarbons giant BP has decided to close down its solar power operations after 40 years of operation.

The solar power arm of the company has faced difficulties for several years due to the rise of lower-cost equipment from manufacturers in China and India.

A spokesperson from BP said that many attempts were made to make the company’s solar activities economically viable. BP Solar closed down its manufacturing plant in the US, Spain and Australia.

In July, the company announced that it would focus its business on large-scale project only instead of residential and commercial/industrial rooftop units.

“The markets we mostly operated in – US, Spain, Germany, [Australia], Italy, etc – are no longer viable for us,” said a spokesperson for the company.

“[Nevertheless] we are still committed to the $8bn investment in alternative energies – US onshore wind, and biofuels R&D/manufacturing/blending and marketing – from 2005-15, in fact [we are] likely to reach that a couple of years early.”