Berkshire Hathaway Subsidiary Buys Massive Solar Project

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted January 4, 2013

Berkshire Hathaway-owned MidAmerican Energy (PINK: MDPWK) has reached an agreement with SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) to buy out and develop two solar projects, expected to be completed by the end of 2015, in California’s Antelope Valley.

SunPower is owned in part by French giant Total (NYSE: TOT), and will continue to be engaged during construction and development.

MidAmerican will pay between $2 to $2.5 billion for the deal. Incidentally, this would be the third time Warren Buffett has waded into solar sector development. Clearly the Sage sees something worthwhile there, as last year he carved out a renewables unit within MidAmerican.

In December of 2011, MidAmerican acquired a 550 MW plant in California from First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) in a $2 billion deal. Prior to that, the company acquired a 49 percent stake in another $1.8 billion project, this time in Arizona.

Altogether, the company currently holds about 1,830 MW in assets including solar, geothermal, and wind projects.

From The Telegraph:

“Customers, investors and banks see this as a stamp of approval on SunPower,” SunPower’s president and chief executive, Tom Werner, said. “It’s a huge deal for us, roughly the size of our company.”

San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower presently is worth around $732 million, and the two projects are slated to have a total capacity of 579 MW. That would make it the largest solar photovoltaic facility in the world, creating about 650 jobs during construction.

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