Washington, United States — French energy company, Alstom said on Thursday that it will enter a partnership with BrightSource Energy Inc. in order to enter the solar energy market. Alstom announced it is investing up to US $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. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System was also an investor. The company has now raised more than $300 million.
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, according to the company.
BrightSource has contracts for a total of 2,600 megawatts with PG&E and Southern California Edison/ To meet this demand, the company intends to build 14 solar power plants in the US southwest by 2016. BrightSource’s first U.S. power project, the 392 megawatt Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System, is currently under development in San Bernardino County, California.
“Alstom’s Plant Integrator capabilities, proven engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) skills and global customer base will help BrightSource make solar energy cost competitive with fossil fuels by developing, building, owning and operating the most cost-effective and reliable large-scale solar energy projects,” said Philippe Joubert, Alstom Power’s president.