The 550-megawatt Topaz solar project in northern San Luis Obispo County got a new owner on Dec. 7 when Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway announced it was acquiring the project from Arizona-based First Solar.
The price was not disclosed, but the project is expected to cost about $2 billion. After a lengthy permitting process, First Solar has hit several roadblocks in funding the large project, and its stock has fallen 60 percent this year, in line with the drop in other solar company shares, according to Bloomberg News.
Berkshire Hathaway has been diversifying the energy portfolio of its MidAmerican Energy unit, investing in natural gas pipelines and wind projects.
One advantage of the Topaz project is that it has a 25-year agreement to supply power to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. as part of a California mandate for utilities to generate a third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.