Shares in Chinese solar manufacturers, including Suntech Power, rallied overnight on a report that billionaire Wareen Buffett may be interested in buying Suntech, whose manufacturing subsidiary has been forced into after defaulting on debt. Bloomberg reports that Suntech shares jumped as much as 28 per cent after a news service owned by Hong Kong Economic Times said Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. may buy the solar panel maker.
MidAmerican has invested in solar power projects in California and Arizona and wind farms in Illinois. Chief Financial Officer Patrick Goodman said in November that the company was targeting renewable energy deals, in part because utility valuations were high. A spokesperson for Mid American would not comment, and an e-mail to Suntech’s investor relations unit wasn’t immediately returned outside of business hours in China, Bloomberg said
“If Buffett were to buy Suntech, he would be entering a company with big debt and a market where solar product prices are still low,” James Kelleher, a director at Argus Research in New York, told Bloomberg. “Suntech doesn’t have any of the advantages of Buffett’s other previous acquisitions. China would be reluctant to do debt restructuring for Suntech should Buffett take over.”
Mosaic lines up $100m for solar crowd-sourcing
The US solar crowd-sourcing financing startup Mosaic, has announced that it has been given the green light to offer $100 million worth of new solar investments to California residents, giving it the ability to go ahead with crowd-sourcing for multiple solar projects in the state.
Mosaic has so far raised more than $1.1 million from more than 1,000 investors to finance twelve rooftop solar power plants in California, Arizona and New Jersey. Its most recent project, solar panels on the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego, sold out in six hours. The average investor put down $1,000 in expectation of getting an annual return of around 4.5 per cent per annum. “California has always been a leader in solar energy. We’re thrilled that now any resident of California can invest directly into solar energy for as little as $25,” said Billy Parish, President & Co-founder of Mosaic in a statement.
BrightSource focuses on storage
BrightSource Energy has pulled the plug on the 500MW Hidden Hills concentrated solar thermal project in California so that it can focus on projects that boast energy storage capabilities. “Changing dynamics in the California energy markets point to the need for more flexible resources, such as concentrating solar thermal power with storage,” the company noted after terminating an agreed power purchase agreement for the project.
BrightSource is currently preparing to bring its first full-scale solar power towers at the 372-MW Ivanpah Units One, Two and Three on-line in the coming months, and is focusing on storage and a more concentrated heliostat field in all its future developments. For it to include storage at Hidden Hills, it would need to resubmit for planning approvals. It has also canned the 500MW Rio Mesa 2 project, but will go ahead with a 500MW Palen project.