BrightSource Energy

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BrightSource Energy, Inc.
Venture backed private
IndustrySolar thermal power
Founded2004; 15 years ago (2004)
FounderArnold J. Goldman
Key people
David Ramm[1] (CEO)(Chairman)

BrightSource Energy, Inc. is an Oakland, California based, corporation that designs, builds, finances, and operates utility-scale solar power plants.

Greentech Media ranked BrightSource as one of the top 10 greentech startups in the world in 2008.[2]


BrightSource was formed with seed capital from VantagePoint Venture Partners. It secured $115 million in additional corporate funding from its Series C round of financing in May 2008. This brings the total the company has raised to date to over $160 million. Investors include, BP Alternative Energy, Morgan Stanley, DBL Investors, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Chevron Technology Ventures, Statoil Venture, and Black River.[3]

BrightSource Industries (Israel) Ltd., formerly named Luz II Ltd.,[4] is a wholly owned subsidiary of BrightSource Energy, Inc. Based in Israel, BrightSource Industries is responsible for solar technology development, plant design and engineering.

In March 2008, BrightSource entered into a series of power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for up to 900 MW of electricity.[5] BrightSource is currently developing a number of solar power plants in Southern California, with construction of the first plant planned to start in 2009.[needs update]

In February 2009, BrightSource contracted to sell power from seven solar power towers in the Mojave Desert to Southern California Edison (SCE). The plants will have a combined capacity of 1,300 MW, producing 3.7 billion kilowatt-hours per year. The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, BrightSource's 392 MW, 3,900-acre (16 km2) plant opened on February 13, 2014.[6][7][8] The total cost of the Ivanpah project was $2.2 billion. The largest investor in the project was NRG Energy, a power generating company based in Princeton, New Jersey, that contributed $300 million. Siemens supplied instrumentation and control systems as well as steam-turbine generators.

In 2010, BrightSource hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to begin preparations for a public offering in 2011. Its fourth round of equity financing in May netted $150 million, bringing total equity financing to $330 million to date.[9]

In November 2011, Google announced that they would stop investing in CSP projects due to the rapid price decline of photovoltaics. Google spent $168 million on BrightSource.[10][11] In December 2011, Google and KKR & Co. announced an agreement to invest in four California solar power plants with total capacity of 88 megawatts.[12]

In December 2011, The California Energy Commission (CEC) began to review a proposed 750 MW Rio Mesa Solar Project in Riverside County, California. BrightSource Energy Inc. is the developer for this project.[13][14]

In 2009, BrightSource Energy announced plans to build a 960 MW (1,290,000 hp) solar thermal power plant in Coyote Springs that would be on line by 2012.[15] As of 2011, the project had not yet broken ground and the production start date had been pushed back to 2014 for the first stage,[16] and 2015 for the second stage.[17] As of December 2013, Brighthouse is in court with Coyote Springs over costs associated with Brighthouse failing to perform this project. [18]

In 2016, BrightSource signed a deal to sell its solar farm technology to a Chinese project owned by a state-run energy company. The technology, the same used at a big solar farm outside of Las Vegas, uses thousands of mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a boiler filled with water that is perched on top of a tower. The process heats the boiler's water to high temperatures to turn a steam turbine that then generates electricity.[19]

Shift to overseas projects[edit]

In September 2014, BrightSource ended its upcoming California projects, withdrawing its application for a solar thermal power plant at Palen, near Riverside. Biologists, Native American groups, and advocates for Joshua Tree National Park were concerned that the bright light and heat of the Palen project's heliostats would prove fatal for birds. The company shifted its focus to overseas projects.[20] In November 2014, Bright Source announced a joint venture with Shanghai Electric to build "utility scale solar thermal projects," and proposed the "construction of two 135 megawatt (MW) CSP plants as part of the Qinghai Delingha Solar Thermal Power Generation Project."[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BrightSource names David Ramm as New CEO". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Greentech Media's Top Ten Startups". Greentech Media. 2008-04-17. Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  3. ^ "BrightSource Energy Exceeds $115 million in Latest Round of Funding" (PDF). BrightSource Energy. 2008-05-14. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  4. ^ "Stocks". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  5. ^ "BrightSource Energy signs whopper solar contract with PG&E". CNET News. 2008-03-31. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  6. ^ Revkin, Andrew C. (February 11, 2009). "California Utility Looks to Mojave Desert Project for Solar Power". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  7. ^ "Agreement for 1,300 Megawatts of Clean and Reliable Solar Thermal Power". Southern California Edison (SCE). February 11, 2009. Archived from the original on February 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  8. ^ "BrightSource Energy and Southern California Edison (SCE) Power Purchasing Agreement FAQs" (PDF). BrightSource & SCE. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  9. ^ By Iris Kuo, VentureBeat. "Brightsource quietly moving towards IPO in 2011." Access date September 22, 2010.
  10. ^ Google cans concentrated solar power project Reve, 24 Nov 2011. Accessed: 25 Nov 2011.
  11. ^ Marc Roca and Ehren Goossens (Dec 20, 2011). "BP Deems Solar Unprofitable, Exiting Business After 40 Years". Bloomberg.
  12. ^ Google Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) Archived 2013-06-29 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ States News Service, Power Engineering. "ENERGY COMMISSION BEGINS REVIEW FOR RIO MESA SOLAR ELECTRIC GENERATING FACILITY." 12/15/2011. Retrieved 12/16/2011.
  14. ^ California Energy Commission, SolarServer. "Concentrating solar power: CEC to begin review of 750 MW Rio Mesa project Archived June 17, 2012, at the Wayback Machine." 12/15/2011. Retrieved 12/16/2011.
  15. ^ Tavares, Stephanie (December 23, 2009). "Vision for desert solar power plant expands". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
  16. ^ "BrightSource Coyote Springs 1 (PG&E 3)". National Renewable Energy Laboratory. January 21, 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  17. ^ "BrightSource Coyote Springs 2 (PG&E 4)". National Renewable Energy Laboratory. January 21, 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  18. ^ "BrightSource, Coyote Springs divorce messy". Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  19. ^ Katie Fehrenbacher, Fortune. “China to Build Solar Mirror Farm Using Oakland Company's Technology.” Sept 27, 2016. April 27, 2017.
  20. ^ Hull, Dana (2014-09-30). "BrightSource Energy looks abroad". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
  21. ^ Hull, Dana (2014-11-10). "BrightSource's China deal — with storage!". SiliconBeat. Retrieved 2014-12-07.

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