Correction: We reported that there was an additional $30 million financing round for BrightSource Energy. In actuality - the number was $23 million and it was a figure over and above the company's previously announced $150 miilion. According to a Brightsource Energy spokesperson, "Our series D raise actually ended higher than when our press release announced at $150 million in May. The Round D raise totaled approximately $173 million, $23 million more than was reported in our press release. The $23 million came in after the press release was sent out, but before the actual round closed.
Concentrated Solar Power pioneer BrightSource Energy
just won another $30 $23 million in venture capital funding, bringing their total to approximately $300 million.
This funding comes following the approval of the 370-megawatt Ivanpah project and amidst reports of preparation for an initial public offering on the NASDAQ in 2011 with the hiring of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
Ivanpah would be among the first commercial solar thermal power plants permitted on U.S. federal public land and would double the electricity coming from solar thermal plants in the U.S.
The Ivanpah project received a positive "proposed decision" from the California Energy Commission (CEC) back on August 4, and the CEC was expected to make a final decision today. The Bureau of Land Management still has to provide a final sign-off, but that's expected to come through. BrightSource will likely have the construction permits it needs later in the fall.
As reported by GTM Research's Brett Prior, the CEC has recently approved CSP projects for Solar Millennium LLC's Blythe plant, as well as Abengoa's Mojave Solar plant. More approvals are expected over the next several weeks. The CEC wants to make sure these plants get the necessary approvals in time to retain federal incentives that were granted earlier.
As part of the permitting process, Brightsource decided to resize the plant from 440 megawatt gross capacity down to 392 megawatt gross (370 megawatt net), in order to minimize the environmental impact of the project, especially on the desert tortoise.
As shown in Greentech Media's CSP Project Tracker, BrightSource's Ivanpah has already had their signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) approved by the CPUC for the first 259 megawatts at Ivanpah. The PPA they signed with SCE for the remaining 133 megawatts is still awaiting approval. Ivanpah has already published its final EIS, and is awaiting a "final record of decision" from the BLM (expected around Oct. 6). (Also see: Is Ivanpah the World's Most Efficient Solar Plant?)
BrightSource has received a conditional commitment for a Federal Loan Guarantee for $1.37B (section 1705) with their significant VC funding coming from Alstom, Black River, BP Alternative, California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), VantagePoint Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Chevron VC Fund, Google, StatoilHydro, et al.
BrightSource has yet to generate any revenue. We are currently verifying the funding announcement with the company.