Alstom, a global leader in equipment and services for power generation, is entering the solar market with an investment of up to $55 million in BrightSource Energy Inc., with an equity stake that positions Alstom as one of the main shareholders in the company. This operation takes place as part of a capital increase of $150 million organized by BrightSource. BrightSource is a specialist in designing, building and operating tower based solar thermal power plants with operations in the USA, Israel and Australia.
BrightSource’s technology employs thousands of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a central receiver atop a tower to produce high temperature steam at the highest levels of solar efficiency. The steam is then piped to a steam turbine and generator which produce electricity. Because BrightSource’s tower technology can operate at the highest steam temperature ranges, the system benefits from the highest efficiency, performance and therefore lowest cost-per-MW among solar technologies.
Alstom’s investment in BrightSource illustrates the important role of our Luz Power Tower technology in meeting global demand for highly efficient, reliable and carbon-free energy resources. Alstom is a world leader in power generation. Their commercial and industrial capabilities and our shared commitment to innovation and environmental leadership make this a natural fit. We welcome Alstom and we look forward to building on this relationship as we continue to grow the US solar market and expand internationally.
—John M. Woolard, CEO and President of BrightSource
BrightSource has contracts for a total of 2,600 megawatts with PG&E and Southern California Edison—California’s two largest utilities. To meet this demand, the company intends to build 14 solar power plants in the US southwest by 2016.
BrightSource’s first US power project, the 392 megawatt Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System, is currently under development in San Bernardino County, California. On completion, the project will generate enough electricity to power more than 140,000 homes, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tons per year. The Ivanpah project has received conditional commitment for more than $1.3 billion in loan guarantees from the US Department of Energy (DOE). The first plant is scheduled to come online in the second half of 2012.