Will MidAmerican Energy Sell More Bonds To Finance New Solar Venture?

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., Berkshire Hathaway’s power producing company, said it is considering if it should sell more bonds during the year 2013, in order to finance a California solar venture that will run them around $2.4 billion.

They are considering issuing these bonds during the first half of 2013 at Topaz Solar Farms LLC. It’s the MidAmerican unit based out of Omaha, Nebraska. We learned this in a regulatory filing from Berkshire Hathaway. This past February, Topaz Solar issued $850 million worth of bonds at a rate of 5.75%. The bonds are due in September of 2039. They issued then in order to fund a 550 mega watt project in progress.

Greg Abel, CEO of MidAmerican, is currently expanding the renewable energy portion of the company, and also investing further in natural gas. There was a unit created this past January to support wind, hydroelectric projects, solar projects and geothermal projects as well. Joseph Salvatore is under the impression that it’s the perfect time to borrow. He is a Bloomberg News Energy Finance analyst. We learned this in a phone interview.

There “seems to be a fairly decent appetite” to take on the debt, said Salvador. “Rates are fairly low right now, and maybe they’re thinking that in 2 to 3 years, if the economic recovery speeds up, interest costs will be higher.”

MidAmerican made an agreement this past December to buy Topaz from First Solar Inc., based out of Tempe, Arizona. They are supplying the solar panels. MidAmerican, during a regulatory filing made this past February, said that Topaz is going to issue an additional $430 million in notes so they can further fund construction costs.

The construction work is already ahead of schedule. The first substation transformer is expected to be delivered during the middle of November, we learned from MidAmerican in regards to the Topaz project.

MidAmerican Energy, subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, said the financial plan for 2013 also includes issuing $300 million to $400 million worth of bonds for PacifiCorp utility, as well as another $600 million that will be used to pay down the debt that they owe to a turbine supplier.

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