MidAmerican acquires 579 MW Antelope Valley power plants


The appetite for large-scale solar assets amongst some prominent U.S. investors appears not to be abating, with one of the largest project acquisitions being announced today. MidAmerican Renewables, which is controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffet, has acquired another major solar power plant asset in the AVSP, currently being developed by Californian manufacturer and developer SunPower.

"The Antelope Valley Solar Projects mark a historic milestone for the energy industry," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions, in a statement announcing the sale. "We are delivering highly reliable low-cost renewable energy at a very large scale.” SunPower is deploying its SunPower Oasis Power Plant product for the AVSP. It employs T0 trackers. Construction is scheduled to begin in this quarter and the projects will cover 3,230 acres.

The AVSP is planned to be completed by the end of 2015. The projects will feed electricity into the grid under long term PPAs.

MidAmerican Renewables has acquired or taken stakes in a series of utility-scale photovoltaic power plants in recent years, including a 49% stake in the 290 MW Agua Caliente power plant and the full acquisition of the 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm – both of which were developed by First Solar. MidAmerican Holdings raised US$850 million in bonds for the Topaz Solar Farm purchase.

The AVSP acquisition illustrates not only the value MidAmerican places on solar power plants as an asset, but also its desire to diversify its solar technology portfolio, with First Solar deploying thin film modules and SunPower c-Si modules on a tracker system.

"We are pleased to be working with SunPower on this development and look forward to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with Southern California Edison as our customer for energy generated by this project," said Paul Caudill, president, MidAmerican Solar in today’s statement. "As we have done at our other solar project locations, we will work hard to establish positive and productive relationships with community and county neighbors and stakeholders."

SunPower reports that conditional land use permits have been obtained for the AVSP and a full environmental review completed. The Antelope Valley is located north of Los Angeles, in southern California.