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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Buffett Buys More Solar But The Big News Is The Crowd Following Him

Buffett Buys More Solar But The Big News Is The Crowd Following Him

  • First a company owned by Warren Buffet’s growing concern, acquired an enormous Sunpower plant in California (link). Worth as much as $2.5 billion this is Buffet’s second big buy in utility scale solar in the western USA. Last year, around the same time the same company bought a FirstSolar power plant for $2B and change (link).
No small thing; this repeat, multi-billion dollar behavior by one of the world’s supposedly smartest investors. Can you see a pattern? How many other energy investments of this scale did the Oracle of Omaha make?
The two solar farms with relatively different technologies – one a so-called thin-film photovoltaic and the other a classic silicon-cell based bit of kit – will fascinate the geeks in the industry as to how they perform over time against their power purchase agreements. But what should fascinate more is how other big money will look for similar deals that happen also to create jobs, boost the sagging US economy and clean the air as they displace demand for dirty fossil-fuel generated juice. (In another blog I might dwell on how the U.S. coal industry is shutting down 3x faster than they could have even imagined a year ago – per this story on NPR).

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