California pension giant CalSTRS sticks with solar tech firm BrightSource

Pension fund among investors in $80m capital raising

The $155.4bn (€119.4bn) California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) has participated in a new funding round at solar thermal technology company BrightSource Energy.
The fund is among a group of investors who backed an $80m capital raising by the Oakland, California-based company.
CalSTRS first bought into BrightSource, which pulled a planned initial public offering in April due to adverse market conditions, in May 2010.
The latest funding round was led by French power generation conglomerate Alstom and venture capital firm VantagePoint Capital. Alstom now has more than a 20% stake in the firm.
There was also participation from DBL Investors, the ‘double-bottom line’ impact investment firm created from the spin-out of the Bay Area Equity Fund I from J.P.Morgan in 2008.
Other backers include venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Goldman Sachs, Chevron Technology Ventures and BP Ventures among others.The move brings BrightSource’s total equity financing to more than $615m.

BrightSource is constructing the giant 377MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert southwest of Las Vegas in partnership with NRG Energy and Google. It’s expected to be completed at the end of this year. It also has two other 500MW projects in the pipeline.

BrightSource also operates a 6MW facility in Israel’s Negev Desert and a 29MW facility for Chevron in California.

“With these funds we will continue to build solar power plants for our US customers, while significantly increasing our presence around the globe,” said BrightSource Chief Executive John Woolard.
“This new investment is a further step in our commitment to the solar thermal power market, and paves the way to provide cost-efficient and reliable carbon free power to our customers,” added Jérôme Pécresse, president of Alstom Renewable Power.

BrightSource announcement