Thursday, June 12, 2008

BrightSource / Luz II Dedicate Negev Solar Energy Development Center

BrightSource Energy, and its Israeli subsidiary Luz II, developers of large scale solar thermal power plants, dedicated their Solar Energy Development Center (SEDC) in the Negev's Rotem Industrial Park earlier today, June 12.

I had an opportunity to attend the ceremony, which included tours of the facility and presentations by BrightSource Chairman Arnold Goldman, BrightSource CEO John Woolard, and Luz II President Israel Kroizer.

The site features more than 1,600 glass mirrors, known as heliostats, which track the sun and reflect light onto a 60 meter-high tower. The concentrated energy is then used to heat a boiler atop the tower to 550 degrees Celsius, generating steam that is piped into a turbine, where electricity can be produced. To learn more about the company's "Distributed Power Tower" technology, check out the video on their web site. Click here for an Israeli news report on the SEDC.

In April, the company entered into a series of contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to build up to 900 MW of solar power in California, at a cost of $2-3 billion. Then, in May, BrightSource raised $115 million in a Series C round of financing from investors including and VantagePoint Venture Partners.

According to BrightSource, the solar power plants that the company is actively developing will provide enough electricity to power more than 3.2 million homes and remove emissions equivalent to what is produced by approximately one million cars.

Ironically, the bus to the event left from the Reading Power Station in Tel Aviv, which served as a reminder of how far Israel has come. Reading, built during the British Mandate in 1938, is powered by imported fossil fuels. Now, 70 years later, deep in the Negev Desert, an independent Israel is developing technology that will be exported to the United States and used to build the world's largest solar power plant.

Congratulations to BrightSource Energy and Luz II!

Related posts:

Arnold Goldman, Chairman of BrightSource Energy

BrightSource Energy raises $115 million in latest round of funding

BrightSource Energy signs large solar deal with PG&E