Thursday, May 15, 2008

BrightSource Energy raises $115 million in latest round of funding

BrightSource Energy, Inc., the US parent company of Israeli solar energy technology company Luz II, has secured $115 million in additional corporate funding from its Series C round of financing. This brings the total the company has raised to date to over $160 million.

BrightSource said these additional funds will enable it to accelerate its plans to deliver utility-grade solar power at a time when many utilities are searching for reliable sources of renewable energy.

VantagePoint Venture Partners, the company’s initial investor, led the syndicate, which includes, BP Alternative Energy, StatoilHydro Venture and Black River. All of the company’s existing investors, including Morgan Stanley, DBL Investors (formerly a subsidiary of JP Morgan), Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Chevron Technology Ventures participated in the round.

“The quality of the investors in this round of financing, coupled with increased support from our earlier investors, underscores the confidence that major strategic players have in our ability to reliably generate clean, cost-effective, utility-scale solar power,” said John Woolard, Chief Executive Officer of BrightSource. “We believe in the transformational role of solar energy, and that the broad reach of our new investors will enable us to accelerate the growth of solar thermal into a mainstream energy source.”

“With its unique ability to reliably produce superheated steam at efficient high temperatures, our power tower technology is the strongest commercially viable approach to solar energy,” said Arnold Goldman, chairman and founder, BrightSource Energy, Inc. and Luz II Ltd. “Operating more efficiently than older solar thermal methods, and costing much less to build, our technology will change the way utilities generate electricity.”

In March 2008, BrightSource entered into a series of power purchase agreements with PG&E for up to 900MW of electricity. BrightSource is currently developing a number of solar power plants in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, with construction of the first plant planned to start in 2009.