House Tablet

Find The Best Solar Deals In Australia

  • 3 Free, No Obligation, Solar Quotes
  • From Fully Qualified Installers
  • With 1000’s of Customer Reviews
  • Competing for Your Business
Finn Peacock Caricature

Check Your Postcode for local solar power quotes

Buffett backs solar industry

12th Dec 2011

The solar industry received a boost from one of the world's most successful investors last week, with California's Topaz Solar Farm being sold to Warren Buffett's utility company.

MidAmerican Energy Holdings announced on December 8 that it had purchased the facility - one of the two largest under construction in the world - from First Solar in a deal estimated to be worth US$2 billion.

Already operating wind power facilities, the utility division of Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway holding company is set to expand its renewable resources capacity to now include solar power.

The move comes as the industry struggles to address growing concerns about the financing of large utility-scale projects - First Solar failed to win a US loan guarantee to finance the construction of the Topaz Solar Farm.

"The fact that Topaz was financed without a DOE loan guarantee is a major milestone in the industry's maturity and evolution," Frank DeRosa, First Solar's senior vice president of project and business development for the Americas, said in an interview.

"[The deal] demonstrates that solar energy is a commercially viable technology without the support of governmental loan guarantees," chairman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Greg Abel said in a statement.

The 550 megawatt facility is expected to produce enough power for about 160,000 homes when it commences in 2015.

Speaking to business news website SmartCompany, chief executive of industry body Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) John Grimes said investment guru Buffett "clearly sees where solar is headed".

"Major players see the opportunity to control what will be the world's dominant energy generation technology in the coming decades," Grimes says.

Berkshire Hathaway has expressed an increasing interest in the solar power industry, highlighted in recent years by its investment in China's BYD Co Ltd.

Although renowned for its electric car developments, BYD also has an emerging solar panel business - production that prompted Buffett to take a stake of nearly 10 per cent in the company in late 2008.

The investment - made during the depths of the financial crisis - was largely supported by Buffett's long-time business partner Charlie Munger.

"All kinds of things are going to be possible once we really gear up to harness the sun," Munger once said in a CNNMoney interview.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar correspondent

Solar Power News Categories

Government Rebate & Regulations
Solar Power & Technology

More Solar Power & Technology

Australia to be a part of huge Asian renewable energy growth
SunPower steps up to make solar more affordable
Canberra makes strides toward carbon neutrality
GTM puts solar's massive growth in perspective
Examining Australia's falling solar PV rooftop prices
Australia's shift toward renewable energy picks up the pace
Australia shines at solar decathlon
University of Queensland tapped as lead researcher on massive solar project
100 per cent renewable energy is possible in 10 years, environmental group says
Climate Commission releases report on solar progress
Aussie government actually shows spine for solar power
Be gone, skeptics: One million solar installations and counting
Australia embarks on its greatest solar journey ever
Australia looks to solar thermal for commercial success
Solar power helps King Island reach 100% sustainability
Australians 'heavy supporters of solar power'
Mildura solar plant officially unveiled
Solar power trumps other renewables in Australian minds
Sunshine Coast solar farm "fantastic initiative"
Sunshine Coast cashes in on namesake with solar plans
Energy storage 'could maximise solar power utility'
Solar powered family car - a world first?
Code of conduct for solar installers in the works
'Stop punishing households' for solar PV
Australian solar companies 'adjusting well'
Australian mining 'next solar frontier'
"Rooftop revolution" underway across Australia
Global PV market emerging from sluggish period
Royalla solar farm receives final approval
Leadership challenge a "debacle" for Australian solar power
Solar power giving global renewables a helping hand
Australia's largest CPV solar power plant up and running
Renewable energy misinformation "staggering"
CEC: Don't underestimate consumer desire for solar
Setting energy efficient examples on TV
Solar PV brightening up household bills
World's largest solar powered boat on the move
Climate change is heating up
The global solar power shift
New solar tech win for NSW
Industry orgs praise City of Sydney solar efforts
Clean Energy Council supports Regional Renewables scheme
Asian nations emerging as PV leaders
Solar PV demand continues to grow
Regional areas of Australia to receive more renewables
Australia's significant renewable energy growth
Solar panel reprieve for Queensland
New funding for solar research
Find love with sustainable speed dating
New Victorian solar power deal