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SunPower, solar stocks surge after Warren Buffett buys Calif. plants

January 03, 2013|By Tiffany Hsu
  • MidAmerican Solar acquired a 579-megawatt pair of solar projects from SunPower.
MidAmerican Solar acquired a 579-megawatt pair of solar projects from… (SunPower Facebook )

Solar stocks were burning up Thursday, led by a 41% share price boom for SunPower, which this week said it sold a pair of massive Southern California solar power plants to a Warren Buffett company.

San Jose-based SunPower said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it sold two Antelope Valley photovoltaic projects to MidAmerican Solar, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings, itself owned by Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway. The 579-megawatt pair is still under development.

The projects, located in Kern and Los Angeles counties, will together form the largest permitted solar photovoltaic power development in the world, according to SunPower.

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved two long-term power purchase contracts in which the sites will provide renewable energy to Southern California Edison.

MidAmerican Solar also owns the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms project in San Luis Obispo County and holds a 49% stake in the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma County, Ariz.

The SunPower deal, worth as much as $2.5 billion, sent solar stocks on a tear.

SunPower soared as much as 41% to $8.68 a share. Lazard Capital Markets upgraded the company to buy from neutral.

Suntech was up more than 18% to $1.90 a share, while First Solar gained as much as 11% to $35.60 a share.

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