The Bloomberg New Energy Finance podcast provides weekly solar and energy news and analysis.
2012 starts with a “solar scramble,” with more Warren Buffett purchases (of three wind parks in Iowa), more acquisition bids from Chinese companies in Europe, and new projects in California and New Jersey. “Nowhere is the contrast between company performance and investment clearer than in the solar sector.” Installations continue to surge while module makers struggle, and the industry consolidates.
Chinese companies are increasingly acquisitive overseas, purchasing a 21% state in Europe’s largest utility as well as many other energy companies. Chinese companies are flush with cash and interested in international expansion. China Three Gorges and LDK Solar are the two companies that have made the largest purchases. Acquisitions are the name of the game across the solar industry as it struggles to consolidate amid a situation of overcapacity. China has removed the solar module industry from its list of industries its actively promoting for investment.
Warren Buffet’s purchase of the $2B 550MW Topaz PV project and an Arizona project caused a flurry of end-of-year project deals and purchases.
Analysis: International Durban agreement doesn’t have any binding effects now; probably won’t produce anything binding until 2020.