Buffett Makes Major Solar Purchase
World-famous investor Warren Buffett is making major headlines after purchasing one of the largest solar installations in the world. MidAmerican Energy Holdings, an Iowa-based utility, bought the Arizona-based First Solar's Topaz Solar Farm project last week, expecting to increase the company's energy capacity by eight percent.
Approximately 20 percent of MidAmerican's capacity already comes from wind power and other renewables, but the additional capacity from the Topaz project will bring the company well above the required renewable energy portfolio of utilities to come.
Buffett's move is a great sign for the solar market, making up for the mass press surrounding the collapse of the solar manufacturer Solyndra earlier this year.
"The fact that Topaz was financed without a DOE loan guarantee is a major milestone in the industry's maturity and evolution," Frank DeRosa, First Solar's senior vice president of project and business development for the Americas, told Bloomberg.
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The financial details of the transaction have not been released to the public, but many estimates place it around $2 billion. Shares of First Solar immediately rose 12.5 percent on the Nasdaq last Wednesday when the news was first announced.
The project will have the capacity to provide power to about 16,000 homes in California, according to a statement from MidAmerican Energy.
The deal "demonstrates that solar energy is a commercially viable technology without the support of governmental loan guarantees," Greg Abel, chairman, president and CEO of MidAmerican, said in the statement.
Tesla records $1.1bn quarterly profit
Tesla recorded $1.1 billion net income in the second quarter, for the first time in its history, overcoming semiconductor chip shortages and other supply chain challenges.
Spurred by record levels of global demand and 'never-before-seen inflection point' for electric vehicles, production ran close to full capacity, and a quarterly highlight was the launch of the Tesla Vision. Total revenues were just under $12 billion and year-on-year production increased from 180,338 models to 206,421.
Technology will continue to be key to the carmaker's future. "Solving full autonomy is a difficult engineering challenge in which we continue to believe can only be solved through the collection of large, real-world datasets and cutting-edge AI," it said.
Progress is being made on the industrialisation of the Cybertruck, which is earmarked for production at Austin. The removal of radar, which is enabled by its collection of a vast dataset of corner cases, allows Tesla to focus on vision and increase the pace of improvement - the first customers have downloaded FSD V9 Beta this month.
Geographic production breakdowns were as follows:
- US California and Texas production ramp of Model S progressed and majority of all Model 3/Y was delivered, and Texas Gigafactory (pictured below) continues to progress
- Shanghai production remained strong despite 'minor' supply chain challenges and Tesla has completed the transition of Gigafactory Shanghai as the primary vehicle export hub
- Europe Berlin-Brandenburg demand (main photo) remains well above supply, resulting in growing wait times for delivery, and new equipment and testing tools are being introduced, with growing import volumes in the interim
- The company is "on track" to build its first Model Y vehicles in Berlin and Austin this year but pressures on batteries and supply chains means the Semi truck program has been pushed back to 2022
Tesla said it has successfully validated performance and lifetime of its 4680 battery cells produced at its Kato facility in California but "we still have work ahead of us" before it can achieve volume production. Energy storage deployments more than tripled, driven mainly by several Megapack projects, although energy storage production continues to be held back by supply chain challenges, given its long backlog. Solar deployments reached 85MW in Q2, a triple jump on Q2 2020.
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