Solar Power Draws High-Profile Investors

June 10, 2014 By Karen Henry

Ivanpah Energy ManagePrivate investors such as Warren Buffett are helping to fuel the rapidly growing US solar power industry.

Google invested $168 million in the Ivanpah project, a partnership between NRG Energy and BrightSource Energy. The $2.2 billion project broke ground in the Mohave Desert about three years ago and officially opened February 13.

The 3,600-acre plant uses solar thermal technology to power roughly 140,000 homes. The plant’s 347,000 mirrors collect sunlight, which heats water and creates power through three, 450-ft. towers. Ivanpah currently generates just under 30 percent of California’s commercial solar energy.

MidAmerican Renewables, owned by the energy unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is also working on a number of solar projects. Among the most notable are the Solar Star projects, developed by SunPower and Acquired by MidAmerican Solar, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables, according to USA Today.

Solar Star is being touted as the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power plant being constructed. To date, the 3,200-acre site in Kern and Los Angeles counties has installed about 170 MW of a total 579 MW. It is slated to be complete in late 2015.

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