Buffett Sees Bright Days for Solar

Posted on November 17, 2014

When it comes to timing, Warren Buffett may be somewhat early. But, of course, his bets usually payoff eventually.

So, what’s the Oracle of Omaha looking at now? One big play is solar.

True, the industry has been a pariah. After all, governments in the U.S. and Europe are struggling to find ways to cut their budgets. And alternative energy subsidies are an easy target.

But such things seem to be no problem for Buffett. Consider that one of Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRK.A, NYSE:BRK.B) portfolio companies, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, agreed yesterday to purchase two mega-projects of SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) for more than $2 billion. They’re based near Los Angeles and are expected to become the world’s largest photovoltaic sources, with 579 megawatts of power.

But the development won’t be quick. Construction is expected to begin in the next three months and wrap up in 2015, employing about 650 workers. Once complete, the plants will sell electricity to Southern California Edison under agreements already approved by California utility regulators.

Then again, Buffett is a long-term thinker and certainly understands that finding cheap sources of energy will be crucial for MidAmerican. Besides, he realizes that more regulations on carbon emissions will mean strong demand for clean energy sources — for decades to come.