According to its recent filing with the SEC, BrightSource Energy has control of approximately 110,000 acres suitable for solar development in California and the U.S. Southwest with the potential to produce approximately 11 GW (11,000 MW) of installed capacity.
The total capacity supplied to California – from all forms of electricity – both from in-state and from out of state is currently 80 GW. This would mean that – if there were none of the nonsense legal obstacles that seem to beset all solar development – BrightSource Energy alone would be able to produce nearly 13% of California’s total electricity needs, just from solar, well up from the less than the 1% of total solar from all developers on the grid so far.
The company has 284 full time employees, and of that 213 are primarily engaged in research, development and operations. About two thirds of BrightSource Energy employees are in Israel, where the parent company, the child of Luz Industries: BrightSource Industries, has now been folded into BrightSource Energy with its R&D arm led by VP Israel Kroizer.
Since its founding in 2004, BrightSource has signed a record number of solar PPAs – long term power purchase agreements. They have contracted to deliver approximately 2.6 GW of installed capacity, in 14 PPAs, to California’s biggest utilities, PG&E, which serves 15 million customers, and to Southern California Edison, which has been the only one of the three major California utilities to meet its (20%) 2010 renewable energy targets on time. (California’s other utilities came close, at about 19%, and have till 2013 to be shipped the power from contracts that have already been signed.)
But the litigious opposition to solar energy – led mostly, inexplicably, by environmentalists – severely impacts the ability of companies like BrightSource to supply us with the clean energy that we need to save our environment, by cutting off at the knees the beginnings of a clean power future.
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