Buffett to purchase SLO County solar farm
December 7, 2011
A company owned by Warren Buffett announced Tuesday it has entered into a definitive agreement with First Solar to buy the Topaz Solar Farm currently under construction in San Luis Obispo County.
The 550-megawatt solar plant is expected to produce enough renewable energy to power approximately 160,000 California homes.
A subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., MidAmerican said in a press release that First Solar will complete construction of the more than $2 billion California Valley solar farm in 2015. Construction began last month.
“As energy needs continue to increase, the Topaz project will allow MidAmerican to produce renewable energy for thousands of Californians,” said Greg Abel, chairman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. “This project also demonstrates that solar energy is a commercially viable technology without the support of governmental loan guarantees and reflects the type of solar and other renewable generation that MidAmerican will continue to seek to add to its unregulated portfolio.”
In October, the Topaz project lost $1.9 billion in federal loan guarantees because it failed to meet a deadline to start construction.
A few days later, First Solar entered into an agreement with a group of litigants battling against the proposed solar plant. Under the agreement, the 550-megawatt solar plant will be decommissioned after 35 years of operation, the area restored to its natural state, and a conservation easement is to be placed on the land as part of the lawsuit settlement.