December 7, 2011 |
Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings utility agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz project in California, branching into solar power after the industry was battered by stock markets around the world. The Topaz Solar Farm will be one of the world's largest photovoltaic power plants and is being developed by the seller, First Solar Inc. of Tempe, Ariz. Terms weren't disclosed. The project's 550- megawatt capacity is equal to about half a new nuclear reactor. Buffett's Iowa-based utility, which entered clean energy buying U.S. wind farms and a stake in Chinese electric-car producer BYD Co., struck the deal Wednesday after First Solar failed to get a U.S. government loan guarantee for the project that will use First Solar's thin-film solar panels.
June 22, 2012 |
First Solar Inc. is restarting work on one of the biggest construction projects in Los Angeles County after resolving a code conflict with the public works department. The nearly $1.4-billion Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project was put on hold as the county checked that the thin-film solar panels being installed met certification, health and safety requirements. Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar put some workers on furlough during the period but now says it plans to ramp up its workforce over the next few weeks.
April 30, 2012 |
SolarCity Corp., a Bay Area solar panel developer and installer whose chairman heads Tesla Motors Inc., is planning an IPO. The San Mateo company's intention to go public come as other alternative energy firms are backing away from similar growth plans, even after the industry reported record growth last year. First Solar Inc. said this month that it would close down some of its factories and trim 2,000 positions . Oakland's BrightSource Energy Inc. scrapped its IPO plans a few weeks ago. After Solyndra's bankruptcy last year focused an unflattering spotlight on the solar business, SolarCity and other companies gave up hope for federal loan guarantees.
November 24, 2010 |
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors denied a request from Northrop Grumman Corp. to delay final approval of a major solar project in the Antelope Valley near the military contractor's facility for testing radar-evading stealth aircraft. On a voice vote, supervisors rejected Northrop's appeal Tuesday, opting to let plans for the 2,100-acre complex of photovoltaic solar panels proceed. Final approval is expected Dec. 7. The company argued that the project would "adversely impact the military mission" of the sensitive, 1970s-era testing center, just south of the Tehachapi Mountains in Kern County.
April 18, 2012 |
Blaming a "fundamentally changed" solar industry and plunging business in Europe, panel maker First Solar Inc. is cutting 2,000 jobs and closing a factory. The layoffs represent 30% of the workforce of the Tempe, Ariz., company, which is the leading U.S. manufacturer of photovoltaic solar panels — the type commonly found on rooftops. The factory being closed is in Frankfurt, Germany. In addition, the company will indefinitely idle four production lines at its facility in Kulim, Malaysia, as of May 1. Some U.S. employees of the company will also be cut, though First Solar did not disclose how many.
October 26, 2011 |
California political leaders chose a site near the headquarters of Solyndra to kick off hearings on how the state's growing clean-tech industry can proceed in the wake of that solar company's dramatic collapse. The U.S. solar industry is reeling now that its standout champion, First Solar Inc, just ousted its chief executive and warned on profits in the face of the same stiff Chinese competition that felled Solyndra. Yet people who "had never supported clean tech" should not be allowed to use Solyndra against the sector and its backers, state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro)