Thermosolar energy company BrightSource Energy Inc. has raised over $80 million in a financing round led by Alstom SA (Euronext: ALO) and VantagePoint Capital. Other investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), CalSTRS, DBL Investors, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Chevron Technology Ventures, and BP Ventures. The company will use the proceeds to expand operations in the US and globally.
BrightSource cancelled a planned Nasdaq IPO in April, in which it sought to raise $150 million at a company value of $1-1.1 billion. It has raised $615 million to date. The company was founded in 2004, and moved its headquarters to Oakland, California, in 2008. It has development and testing centers in Har Hotzvim in Jerusalem and at Mishor Rotem in the Negev, where most of the company's more than 400 employees are employed.
As part of the financing round, BrightSource and Alstom have expanded geographic partnerships to build solar thermal power plants in India and Australia. In October 2010, the companies announced partnerships in the Mediterranean Ring and Africa. They are also collaborating on solar R&D on thermal storage and hybridization with fossil fuels."
BrightSource operates a 6-megawatt thermal demonstration facility at Mishor Rotem and a 29-meagawatt solar energy plant for Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) in Coalinga, California. The company's 377-meagawatt solar project at Ivanpah, California in partnership with NRG Energy and Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), is due to be completed by the end of 2013. It has two 500-megawatt projects at Rio Mesa and Hidden Hills under review by the California Energy Commission, which is due to grant permission for them in 2013.
BrightSource CEO John Woolard said, "Today's capital raise reflects the important role of our solar thermal power tower technology in meeting the world's growing demand for cost-effective power that is not only clean, but reliable as well "With these funds we will continue to build solar power plants for our US customers, while significantly increasing our presence around the globe."
BrightSource cites a study by the International Energy Agency, which says that solar energy, including both concentrated solar thermal power and photovoltaic systems could account for 25 percent of global electricity by 2050 and cover a third of global energy demand after 2060. Concentrating solar thermal power alone, the study says, could supply 11.3 percent of the world's electricity by 2050.
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