Why BrightSource Did not Need that IPO

brightsource IPOWhen BrightSource withdrew its IPO this month, the death knell for solar was sounded, as always. The truth is more mundane.

According to the always inquisitive   over at GigaOm who managed to snag a Q&A with the company, BrightSource just doesn’t necessarily need the extra money right now. Its Ivanpah solar thermal project is already fully funded with project financing from NRG Energy and Google.

(Related: Israel’s BrightSource Still Private After IPO Withdrawal.)

Any additional funds from an IPO at this point would just have gone toward things like continued research and development, project development (other ongoing permitting work) and international expansion. And with market conditions as they are a quick cost/benefit analysis in the last days found an IPO not needed.

According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) data, BrightSource has 13 of its huge utility scale solar thermal projects that will be shipping electrons to the California grid between 2013 and 2017 – that are now going the permitting stage.

The Israeli-birthed (Luz Rises Again as BrightSource) U.S. company is the leader of the pack with projects that will clean the U.S. grid for decades into the future, based on the original projects invented by Israeli engineers that still operate in the California desert – even though the U.S. government drove the original Luz  into bankruptcy with the unstable renewable policies of the Carter-Reagan transition.

Since every last one of these BrightSource solar thermal projects already has a Power Purchase Contract (PPA) with the California utilities for the next 20 to 25 years, (and thus certain and long term bankability) the need for additional funding in an IPO is not so great that they were willing to go for it in a down market.

The IPO was cancelled from a position of strength.

“During our IPO marketing, we did experience significant interest from potential investors in the US and internationally” Keely Wachs, senior director of corporate communications wrote to Greenprophet in an email. “We’re also seeing significant demand for our technology in international markets in addition to the strong reception received domestically over the past six years.”

So do not be alarmed next time you read news like this: news like this is not The End of Solar! As Fehrenbacher shows, the truth is simpler. Even when Solyndra actually filed for bankruptcy it was not The End of Solar! So next time you read of how any one company’s bankruptcy – or setback – or minor revised footstep – Means The End of Solar! just remember how when Netscape went bankrupt – that was the end of the internet!

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One thought on “Why BrightSource Did not Need that IPO”

  1. Tony Ruiz says:

    These look like big mirrors or giant plasma screen TVs. I hadn’t seen this design!

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