This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Solar Scores a Big Win Over Nuclear

This article originally appeared on April 29, 2013, on Real Money. To read more content like this + see inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE. Click Here NOW.

The debate over costs is over. Solar power won. Nuclear power lost. If your utility wants to own a new power plant, a utility-grade solar farm is a better deal than a new nuclear power plant. Perhaps that's why Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) is building the world's largest solar farm and not a new nuclear power plant.

Berkshire is building a massive utility-grade solar power facility, using off-the-shelf photovoltaic (PV) technology. Berkshire subsidiary MidAmerican Solar will own the facility, which is called the Antelope Valley Solar Projects. SunPower (SPWR) designed and developed the project and will provide operations and maintenance services for the plants via a multiyear services agreement. Antelope Valley will provide renewable energy to Edison International's (EIX) Southern California Edison under two long-term power purchase contracts.

To put Berkshire's newest investment in perspective, Antelope Valley is bigger than some nuclear power plants. With a nameplate rating of 579-megawatts, Antelope Valley is larger than Omaha Public Power's Fort Calhoun Station, NextEra Energy's (NEE) Point Beach Nuclear Plant (unit 1), Xcel Energy's (XEL) Prairie Island Nuclear Generating units, Xcel's Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant and Dominion Resources' (D) defunct Kewaunee Power Station. Antelope Valley is about the same size as NextEra's Point Beach (unit 2), Exelon's (EXC) Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station and Entergy's (ETR) Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station.

Berkshire's costs are striking. Compared with a new nuclear power plant, Antelope Valley is a bargain. On capital expense, operating costs and levelized costs, solar is a better investment. Here are the numbers:
  • Nuclear: capex, $6 million per megawatt; production costs, $22 per megawatt-hour.
  • Solar: capex, $4 million per megawatt; production costs, $0 per megawatt-hour.

There is growing evidence that new nuclear power's "all-in" costs will be greater than $6 million per megawatt. There is also evidence their production costs are lower than the Nuclear Energy Institute's $22 per megawatt-hour.

Others argue that solar's capex has fallen below $4 million per megawatt. They also may want to add a dollar or two for production costs.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Our Tweets

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs