Warren Buffett purchases largest solar project in the World

Since the beginning of the new year, solar stocks have seen a moderate gain in value. It is estimated that this gain is the result of a recent move by business mogul Warren Buffett.
MidAmerican Energy Holdings – a subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway – announced that it had acquired a 579-megawatt solar development project in Southern California, which, upon completion, should provide electricity for one million US residents.
MidAmerican acquired the development known as the Antelope Valley Solar projects from American solar panel developers SunPower for between $2 to $2.5 billion.
Construction of the project is set to begin in the first quarter of 2013 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2015. When it is complete, the two solar panel arrays will comprise the largest solar project in the World.
To put the size of this project into perspective, consider this: one megawatt is one million watts and a solar panel an individual might install on their own roof is typically about 230 watts. This means the project is equivalent to more than 2.5 million of these 230-watt panels.
The MidAmerican investment comes as good news for the solar industry as it has taken a few hits over the past couple years.
In Europe – the largest solar power market in the World – government funding and support for solar energy has declined as of late and selling prices of solar panels hit the floor after a massive oversupply of panels flooded the market.
Information Handling Services, Inc. (IHS), a research group that specializes in the energy industry said that in 2010, there were 750 solar module and solar cell companies in the World. By 2012, this number had dropped to 150.
But the solar energy industry could soon see a bit of a recovery thanks in part to investments like the one made by Buffett. However, there are a few problems with investing into solar energy.
Generally, people can invest money into the stock market and purchase stocks of a solar company, but they aren’t necessarily investing in solar energy, but rather a company instead.
When an individual places a solar panel on their roof, they may receive breaks on their energy bill or may receive special electricity tariffs from the government who siphon the generated electricity into the power grid.
But now, based out of Oakland, Calif., there is a company that allows individuals the ability to invest in solar energy, similarly to the way that Buffett just has.
Mosaic is a company that allows individuals to invest directly into solar projects through crowd-funding. Founded over two years ago, the company operates through a unique business model that could truly revolutionize the way people invest in green energies.
Solar projects are often expensive and require large amounts of funding. What Mosaic does is connect investors with solar projects that need funding. It’s sort of like Kickstarter, but for solar projects.
In return for their initial investments, the investors are paid a rate of return. When the projects are complete, the people who pay for the electricity provided by the solar projects generate revenues, which Mosaic then pays to its investors.
Although the projects it funds are of a much smaller scale than the one just purchased by MidAmerican, Mosaic allows individuals the ability to invest in green energy opportunities previously unavailable to them. Currently Mosaic only allows investments from residents of California and New York.
Looking forward, it is important that new ways to invest in and to grow green energies are realized as we try to become a more sustainable and environmentally responsible society. 

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