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BrightSource’s solar towers power ahead on $80M in financing and new approvals

Progress at the Ivanpah site as of October 2012Concentrated solar power (CSP) manufacturer and project developer BrightSource just announced that it completed a new round of financing, raising more than $80 million. The funds will support current project development and its push into international markets, two of which received new approvals today (October 25).

The company is closing in on completion of its first large utility-scale CSP project, the  377 megawatt Ivanpah Solar Project. “The Ivanpah project is on schedule and nearly 70 percent complete,” said BrightSource spokesperson Kristin Hunter. “The first of the three units will go online in the second quarter of 2013, and all three units will be complete and online by the end of 2013. There are more than 2,100 workers on the site today,” she said.

The new round of financing will support the company as it builds out the Ivanpah project. “The additional financing will be used to continue US project development in support of the company’s contracts with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison,” Hunter said. Those include the 500 megawatt Rio Mesa and 500 megawatt Hidden Hills projects. And today the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved plans for BrightSource’s Rio Mesa 2 project Sonoran West projects.

With this round of funding BrightSource has now raised more than $615 million in equity financing. In addition to supporting it’s work in the U.S., the funding will help BrightSource and its partners move into additional markets, like India and Australia, the company said. It previously announced partnerships in the Mediterranean Ring and Africa.

This round of financing was led by Alstom and VantagePoint Capital Partners. Other investors included include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, CalSTRS, DBL Investors, Goldman Sachs, Chevron Technology Ventures and BP Ventures. BrightSource and its partners are also collaborating on research and development related to thermal storage and hybridization with fossil fuels. Indeed, BrightSource already completed a 29 megawatt solar thermal installation for Chevron in Coalinga, Calif., used to extract oil. That installation heats water into steam for enhanced oil recovery. 

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