Warren Buffet and MidAmerican Make Tax Savvy Move, Invest in Solar Power

Warren Buffet became an investor in the solar power industry (NYSE:TAN) with an agreement by his company, MidAmerican Energy Holdings utility, to purchase what will be one of the world’s largest photovoltaic power plants. The power plant in Tempe, AZ, was being developed by First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) Construction on the plant began in November and is scheduled to be completed in 2015.  The terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

The photovoltaic plant will be a new adventure for MidAmerican who has traditionally utilized wind energy.  The company has stakes in more than a dozen wind farms and supplies power to 2.4 million customers in the U.S.  Bloomberg Businessweek cites analyst Gerard Reid, who believes the transition from wind to solar could be due to tax benefits. “The reason for the move from wind to solar is very simple. Tax credits for wind in the U.S. expire at the end of next year, while solar ones run till 2015,” said Reid.

First Solar had recently suffered losses along with the rest of the solar industry due to price decreases in solar panels and their components. The decline has forced many solar power companies to try and find sources of cash. First Solar struck the deal with MidAmerican today after its request for a U.S. government loan guarantee for a project involving its thin-film panels was denied.  Analyst Paul Clegg said, “Selling Topaz to the smart financial guys at MidAmerican relieves uncertainty about some of their other projects. I don’t doubt they will find buyers for more of their projects,” per Bloomberg Businessweek.

Here’s how solar stocks are reacting to the news:

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR): FSLR shares recently traded at $45.81, down $2.18, or 4.54%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $40.05 to $175.45. Volume today was 1,409,591 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 4,002,170 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 7.52, while trailing earnings are $6.09 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWRA): SPWRA shares recently traded at $N/A,. They have traded in a 52-week range of $ to $. Volume today was shares versus a 3-month average volume of shares. The company’s trailing P/E is , while trailing earnings are $ per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE:STP): STP shares recently traded at $2.71, down $0.04, or 1.45%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $1.70 to $10.83. Volume today was 953,374 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 4,491,560 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 35.19, while trailing earnings are $0.08 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YGE): YGE shares recently traded at $4.49, down $0.02, or 0.44%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $2.75 to $13.59. Volume today was 521,203 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 4,248,770 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 4.20, while trailing earnings are $1.07 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (NYSE:LDK): LDK shares recently traded at $4.47, up $0.19, or 4.44%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $2.55 to $14.97. Volume today was 3,055,547 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 2,289,310 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 6.65, while trailing earnings are $0.67 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE:TAN): TAN shares recently traded at $2.96, down $0.03, or 1%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $ to $57.95%. Volume today was 69.20M shares versus a 3-month average volume of 7 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is Equity Energy, while trailing earnings are $Guggenheim Funds Distributors, Inc. per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

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