Buffet Company Buys Topaz Solar Farm

For something that hasn’t even been built yet, the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Project has received a lot of press. 
 
We began reporting on it back in 2008, when the project was first announced, then again in 2009 when California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company agreed to a 25-year power-purchase agreement (PPA) on electricity generated by the solar photovoltaic plant. More recently, owner-builder First Solar Inc. secured a record $2 billion in federal government loans to finance the facility.
 
Work finally began on the solar farm in November, but news that investment guru and world’s top-five ranked richest man Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway have scooped up the project – reputedly for a song – has pushed the tale of Topaz back into the headlines.
  
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company say the acquisition of the Topaz Solar Project will diversify their position as the number one-ranked supplier of utility scale wind power in the United States by branching out into large-scale solar energy. 
  
It appears to be a smart move for the company – First Solar has agreed to construct, operate and maintain the Topaz project for MidAmerican, a PPA is in place and the state of California has legislated that 33 percent of its energy must come from renewable sources by 2020.
  
According to an economic benefits study by The Brattle Group and California Polytechnic State University, the project will infuse an estimated $417 million into the local economy.
 
“As energy needs continue to increase, the Topaz project will allow MidAmerican to produce renewable energy for thousands of Californians,” says Greg Abel, CEO of MidAmerican Energy. 
 
"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."
 
One of the largest solar PV farms in the world, the Topaz farm will utilise over eight million thin-film solar panels and generate enough clean energy to power 160,000 homes.