Translation is more important than ever.
China's BYD, a battery and car maker that's ten perccent owned by Berkshire Hathaway, will invest $3.3 billion into a "solar battery" plant in Shaanxi province that will produce 5 megawatts worth of energy capacity. What is a solar battery? Confusion reigns on this point. English-based news agencies say that the plant will produce batteries for cars. BYD does plan on bringing out an electric car this year and even trying to sell it in America.
Digitimes, based in Taiwan, says that the plant will make solar panels. Chinese companies are known to diversify rapidly so this makes sense too. Chinese wind turbine maker A-Power Technologies, for instance, completed its acquisition of Evatech, a Japanese company that makes amorphous solar panels, today. We shall figure it out sometime today hopefully.
Meanwhile, on a less ambiguous note, Duke Energy Generation Services, meanwhile, has followed through with its plans to sell solar power by buying a 14 megawatt PV farm in Texas from Germany's juwi Solar. The plant is currently under construction. This marks Duke Energy's first foray into solar: the company, a subsidiary of the mega utility, already has 733 megawatts of wind power under its belt. Last year, Duke signed a deal with China's ENN to build solar parks in the U.S. However, this deal is independent of that: Duke will own the Blue Wing plant entirely and fill it up with over 200,000 panels from First Solar.
Finally, Bill Gates, a guy who used to work at Microsoft full time, says he's intrigued by TerraPower, the modular nuclear reactor company we've written about a bunch of times, according to Ina Fried at News.com. TerraPower has a sealed reactor that doesn't have to be refueled for decades. Potentially, it may also burn thorium. TerraPower came out of Intellectual Ventures, the think tank/intellectual property firm co-founded by Nathan Myhrvold. Gates is an investor. In fact, Gates seems to have a lot of energy investments indirectly: Cascade Investment, his private investment vehicle, Gates owns part of Sapphire Energy, which wants to make algae fuel. He has also put money into Vinod Khosla's funds and has also contributed money to Amyris through his foundation.