Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Solar buys two US solar projects for up to US$2.5bn

3 Jan 2013

Antelope Valley Solar Projects image via Shutterstock. Credit: SunPower

Renewable energy company MidAmerican Solar, part of the US billionaire and investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, is to purchase two large-scale solar photovoltaic power plant projects from SunPower in California in a deal worth between US$2bn and US$2.5bn.

MidAmerican Solar, a subsidiary of Buffett’s MidAmerican Renewables, is to acquire two co-located solar photovoltaic farms projects in Kern and Los Angeles Counties in California, which will have a combined solar energy capacity of 579 megawatts (MW).

The projects, based in Antelope Valley, are set to be snapped up by MidAmerican Solar for between US$2bn and US$2.5bn, according to a SunPower filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to SunPower, the combined 579MW projects will form the largest permitted solar photovoltaic power development in the world and will create up to 650 jobs during the construction phase. The build of the solar farms will begin in early 2013, with the two plants set to be ready by the end of 2015.

When they are up and running and connected to the grid, the two solar farms will supply renewable energy to Southern California Edison under two long-term power purchase contracts that have been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.

SunPower has developed the co-located Antelope Valley projects over the last four years. At the 3,230-acre site, it will install its solar panel technology that has been engineered to increase energy capture by up to 25pc.

In addition, SunPower will build, operate and maintain the facility under the agreement with MidAmerican Solar.

Figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate that the project has the potential to offset more than 775,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. This would be the equivalent to removing up to 3m cars from California’s highways over 20 years of the plant’s operation.

MidAmerican Renewables has a total portfolio of more than 1,830 megawatts of owned assets, including wind, geothermal, solar and hydro assets, according to its president Bill Fehrman.

“We are excited about these projects because they support our core business principle of environmental respect,” he said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic