BrightSource Withdraws IPO

BrightSource Energy is withdrawing its upcoming IPO, citing volatile market conditions.

The company set the price for the IPO just weeks ago. It was looking to raise $183 million, down from the original $250 million when it first filed. It planned to make up the difference from private investors Alstom ($75 million) and Caithness Development ($10 million).

"While we received significant interest from potential investors, the continued market and economic volatility are not optimal conditions for an IPO," says John Woolard, CEO. "Fortunately, we’re in a strong financial position and have the support of world-class investors and partners."

BrightSource is a concentrating solar tower plant developer – its landmark project is the $2.2 billion Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which will be the largest solar thermal project in the world.

It has 2.3 gigawatts of power purchase agreements to sell electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison.

When Brightsource first filed for the IPO, we called it a risky proposition and an important test for concentrating solar (CSP)on the public markets.

Solar stocks continue to perform poorly on the public markets because of the factors we’ve reported on so many times: oversupply because of low-priced Chinese competition and reduced subsides from key European countries.

CSP companies are particularly at risk, because the technology is now more expensive than solar PV after all the price declines. Solar thermal plants also require lots of water to keep mirror surfaces clean – a problem in deserts.

Siting mammoth plants on sensitive lands such as the Mohave Desert has resulted in lawsuits and delays.

But there are also advantages. CSP delivers higher quality power because it has fewer intermittency issues (and can go so far as to provide baseload power if energy storage is incorporated), and it has the potential to use integrated storage to align its output with peak demand periods.

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