Alstom, CalSTRS Join $150M Funding for BrightSource Energy

BrightSource Energy, Inc., developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants, added two big-name investors in its latest funding round of $150 million.

Global power-generation company Alstom (ALO.PA) and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), join existing investors including VantagePoint Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Alstom has committed to invest up to $55 million, marking the
company’s entry into the solar market. Alstom already has investments in
hydro, geothermal, wind, tidal power, biomass and waste-to-energy
projects. Alstom Power President Philippe Joubert said, following this
investment, both companies intend to enter into an industrial

The additional financing will be used to support BrightSource’s 2,610 megawatts (MW)in contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)(NYSE: PCG) and Southern California Edison (NYSE: EIX) to build 14 solar power plants in the US southwest by 2016. The funds will also be used by BrightSource to further its international expansion plans.

The Series D round brings BrightSource’s total equity financing to more
than $300 million.

In February 2010, BrightSource received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy for $1.37 billion in loan guarantees to support the financing of BrightSource’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project–the first of its US-based power projects.

The project is expected to create more than 1,000 local renewable energy jobs at the peak of construction and generate $250 million in construction wages. The power plant will be constructed by Bechtel, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the Ivanpah project. BrightSource expects to commence construction later this year.

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