Warren Buffett Snatches Up Two California Solar Plants

Warren Buffett | Photo: Javier/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Energy mogul Warren Buffett has added a couple of sizable pieces to his collection of California renewable energy facilities with the purchase of the Antelope Valley Solar Plants (AVSP) from San Jose-based SunPower, both parties announced Wednesday. The 579-megawatt project is proposed for an array of parcels of what is now farmland astride the Los Angeles-Kern county line west of Lancaster.

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AVSP, which will generate power using tracking photovoltaic panels, is slated to begin construction this year and should be completed by end-2015. The CPUC approved two power purchase agreements between developer SunPower and Southern California Edison last year. The project has drawn criticism for what local residents say was inadequate public notice of the environmental review process. With the nearby Antelope Valley Solar Ranch already under construction, and the valley's fringing mountains ground zero for aggressive wind development, Antelope Valley residents are bearing the brunt of California's push for renewable energy development.

The sale to MidAmerican Solar will keep SunPower in charge of construction and operation of the facilities. MidAmerican Solar is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, itself wholly owned by Warren Buffett's conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway.

MidAmerican Solar already owns the 550-megawatt Topaz solar project in San Luis Obispo County's Carrizo plain. MidAmerican Energy Holdings also owns ten geothermal plants in Imperial County and 300 megawatts' worth of wind turbines in the Tehachapis just north of AVSP.

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