Set to power 1.4 million US homes, the Israeli solar energy company is headed for a public offering, business papers speculate.
The American economy may be in the gutter, but it could be that big crash has set the world up for a new paradigm: investing in and building responsibly managed companies that have the earth in mind – not their CEO’s and VP’s big bonuses. Maybe it’s time to take your cash out from under the mattress: preparing for a US public offering is the Israeli-founded solar energy company BrightSource. The company is to build the largest ever solar-powered steam turbine generator in the world, in California. It hasn’t been without its struggles: environmentalists showed how the original build site for the solar panels interfered with coyote land; recently the company also made plans to relocate a native tortoise.
Now it looks like it’s full steam ahead for BrightSource. The Israeli business newspaper Globes reports that BrightSource has just raised an additional $30 million, bringing its investment total to $300 million.
According to Globes, BrightSource just raised this month $10 million from the Russian government venture capital fund, an international venture capital fund and two unnamed private strategic investors. While founded only 4 years ago, BrightSource Energy is the parent company of BrightSource Industries (Israel) Ltd. (formerly Luz II – years in the business), and was set up to promote activities in the US.
And now the public will be able to invest in the company: the Wall Street Journal reported that BrightSource had hired the services of investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Although it’s not clear when the public offering will be made. Maybe 2011, depending if they can raise another $200 million or so before then, the CEO said.
BrightSource is developing more than 4GW of solar power projects in Southwestern states – enough to power 1.4 million homes. BrightSource now has more than 2.6 gigawatts of power under contract, including the two largest solar power agreements ever – 1,300 megawatts with Southern California Edison and 1,310 megawatts with Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The company’s Solar Energy Development Center in Israel’s Negev Desert is demonstrating BrightSource’s Luz Power Tower (LPT) 550 technology and producing the world’s highest temperature and pressure solar thermal steam.
Previous investors of BrightSource include Alstom S.A., Black River, BP Alternative, California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), VantagePoint Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Chevron VC Fund, Google and StatoilHydro.