Berkshire Hathaway’s Solar Star Project Reaches One Million Photovoltaic Modules Milestone

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Solar has reaches the million photovoltaic modules milestone on its Solar Star I and 2 projects in Rosamond, California.

Another 700,000 modules will be installed in bringing the 3,200 acre solar project to completion in 2015.

Generating Capacity

When completed Solar Star I and 2 will be the world’s largest photovoltaic power plant. The 579 megawatts of electricity it will produce at peak capacity will be enough to power approximately 255,000 homes.

Designed and constructed by SunPower Corporation (SPWR), Solar Star 1 and 2 use the company’s Oasis® Power Plant technology. The solar panels will track the sun during the day, increasing energy capture by up to 25 percent over fixed panels.

Positive Environmental Impact

The environmental benefits of the Solar Star I and 2 projects will be significant. When completed, it will replace 570,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year that would have been produced by burning fossil fuels– the equivalent to taking over 2 million cars off the road over 20 years.

Committed Power Purchaser

Solar Star I and 2 have a guaranteed customer for its power production. Two long-term power purchase agreements have been signed with Southern California Edison.

Decreasing Cost of Construction

The cost of producing solar power is declining rapidly. According to PV Magazine, the cost of producing solar power fell 60% in just an 18 month period, and the overall cost of producing solar power in 2013 was 60% cheaper than in 2011.

Low Cost of Operation

One of the advantageous of photovoltaic power production is its low cost of operation. Despite the enormous 3,200 acre size of the Solar Star I and 2 projects, only 15 full-time site positions will be needed to run the facility.

Other Berkshire Photovoltaic Projects

The Solar Star I and 2 projects are not the only photovoltaic plants Berkshire has under construction. In 2015, it will also complete the Topaz Solar Farms—a 550-megawatt solar photovoltaic project in San Luis Obispo County, California. And, MidAmerican Solar has a 49 percent interest in the Agua Caliente solar farm in Yuma County, Arizona, in partnership with NRG Energy. The 290-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant came online in 2013.

Berkshire Hathaway and Renewable Energy

Berkshire Hathaway’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy has one of the largest portfolios of renewable energy in the world. It currently has 2,593 megawatts of contract capacity owned and under construction. Its MidAmerican Solar unit is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

MidAmerican Renewables includes MidAmerican Solar, MidAmerican Wind, MidAmerican Geothermal and MidAmerican Hydro. MidAmerican Renewables manages unregulated solar, wind, hydro and geothermal projects.

© 2014 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.