BrightSource gets $80 million more for California solar plant

The Ivanpah solar power plant, being built using technology developed in Israel, will be the largest in the world

Aerial view of the Ivanpah solar plant (Photo credit: courtesy)
Aerial view of the Ivanpah solar plant (Photo credit: courtesy)

France’s Alstom has upped its already considerable stake in BrightSource Energy, putting an additional $40 million into the company. Alstom now has a 20 percent stake in BrightSource.

Alstom’s investment was part of a funding round that saw BrightSource garner a total of $80 million in investments, with the balance supplied by DFJ, CalSTRS, DBL Investors, Goldman Sachs, Chevron Technology Ventures and BP Ventures, among others. Since 2008, BrightSource has raised more than $600 million.

All that money has gone toward establishing power plants using BrightSource’s tower-based solar thermal technology – invented in Israel, at BrightSource’s Jerusalem R&D facilities. In 2008, the American BrightSource Energy was established, with its Israeli subsidiary, BrightSource Industries, responsible for solar technology development, plant design and engineering.

Some of the money, said BrightSource, will be used to further construction of the world’s largest solar thermal project — Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) in San Bernardino County, California. That project is now half completed; when finished, Ivanpah will generate 400 megawatts of electricity.

Alstom and BrightSource have been collaborating since 2010 and have developed several small projects, with Alstom supplying power equipment such as steam turbines and solar receiver steam generator to work with BrightSource’s solar thermal technology.

Both companies have also decided to expand their geographic partnerships to India and Australia, where solar conditions best suit BrightSource’s tower technology, the company said, and where Alstom has a strong track record in engineering and construction of power plants. Previously, the companies announced partnerships in the Mediterranean Ring and Africa.

“Strengthening our partnership with BrightSource Energy enhances our joint development towards providing fully integrated solar thermal power plants. We strongly believe in the development and future competitiveness of the solar tower technology. This new investment reinforces solar thermal power’s position at the heart of Alstom’s strategy which is to provide leading sustainable renewable power solutions also spanning hydro, wind, geothermal, ocean and biomass”, said Jérôme Pécresse, Alstom Renewable Power President.

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