BrightSource Energy, developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants, has raised an additional $150 million in its most recent equity financing. The Series D round brings BrightSource’s total equity financing to more than $300 million.
New investors including Alstom and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) joined existing investors in this round, led by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. As part of the financing, global power-generation leader Alstom has committed to invest up to $55 million.
The additional financing will be used to support BrightSource’s 2,610 megawatts in contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison to build 14 solar power plants in the US southwest by 2016. The funds will also be used by BrightSource to further its international expansion plans.
BrightSource Energy’s proprietary LPT 550 energy system is based on proven power tower technology. The system uses thousands of small mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a boiler atop a tower to produce high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional turbine, which generates electricity. In order to conserve precious desert water, the steam is air-cooled and piped back into the system in a closed-loop, environmentally friendly process.
In February 2010, BrightSource received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy for $1.37 billion in loan guarantees to support the financing of BrightSource’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project – the first of its US-based power projects. Once constructed, Ivanpah will be the world’s largest solar energy project, nearly doubling the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the US today. The project will also create more than 1,000 local jobs at the peak of construction and generate $250 million in construction wages. The power plant will be constructed by Bechtel, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the Ivanpah project. BrightSource expects to commence construction later this year.
Location: USA, Oakland, CA