December 7, 2011 / 9:02 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-MidAmerican Energy to buy First Solar's plant

* To buy $2-bln Topaz plant in California

* 550-MW plant can power 160,000 average California homes

Dec 7 (Reuters) - MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, said on Wednesday it will buy First Solar’s 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm power plant in California.

MidAmerican Energy, which already operates wind-powered energy generation facilities, is adding solar to its portfolio amid a slump in the market that has dried up renewable-energy financing.

First Solar had hoped to secure a loan guarantee from the U.S. government to help finance construction of the plant, which will be one of the largest ever built, but the company was unable to meet a government deadline at the end of September.

The $2-billion Topaz plant, being built in San Luis Obispo County, will have the capacity to generate enough energy to power about 160,000 average California homes, MidAmerican Energy said in a statement.

Financial details of the transaction were not available.

Earlier in the day, Reuters had reported about the deal quoting a source familiar with the transaction.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co will buy the electricity from Topaz under a 25-year agreement, Des Moines, Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy said.

First Solar shares, which had lost about two-thirds of their value this year, closed at $46.11 on Tuesday on Nasdaq.

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