Warren Buffett's MidAmerican buys First Solar plant

@CNNMoneyTech December 7, 2011: 12:29 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Warren Buffett's utility company is making a big buy in the turmoil-filled solar energy market.

MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a holding company controlled by Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA, Fortune 500), has agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz Solar Farm project from First Solar.

While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, MidAmerican likely scored the project at a discount. The once high-flying solar power sector has begun to decline sharply amid a combination of slack demand and massive oversupply. Two high profile U.S. companies -- government-backed Solyndra and Evergreen -- have gone bankrupt, and analysts anticipate more failures ahead.

The Topaz plant, which broke ground last month in California, is one of the two largest solar projects in the world. It's slated to be done by 2015, and is expected to be able to generate enough renewable energy for about 160,000 homes.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. plans to buy the electricity under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Shares of First Solar (FSLR) rose 8% on the news.

In April, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a mandate that California get 33% of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2020. To top of page

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