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Brightsource IPO: 6 reasons to invest in solar giant

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BrightSource Energy filed for a long-awaited IPO last week. The company has made several huge bets on a fledgling form of solar power, and they’re hoping investors will help finance the costs. Here are 6 reasons to invest in the Brightsource IPO:

1) Betting on solar thermal. Brightsource’s technology has more in common with traditional power plants than the solar panels most of us are familiar with. The company plans to cover swaths of desert land with giant, computer-controlled mirrors that will concentrate sunlight on a “solar receiver.” That receiver will heat water, which will, in turn, power steam turbines to generate electricity.

2) Revolutionary scale. Brightsource has the land and ambition to truly revolutionize the way California gets its power. As it stands, California gets just 1 percent of its power from the sun, according to GreenProphet.com. If Brightsource is able to develop all 110,000 acres of its land throughout the Southwestern U.S., it has the potential to supply 13 percent of California’s energy needs every year.

3) One word: “Ivanpah.” BrightSource broke ground on its massive 392-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in October. The project’s scale is daunting. When construction wraps up in 2013, Ivanpah should nearly double the amount of commercial solar thermal electricity produced in the U.S., and it’ll yield enough juice to power more than 140,000 homes in California.

The project is currently on hold pending a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review of the complex’s threat to an endangered desert tortoise. Brightsource is optimistic, though, that the delay won’t threaten Ivanpah’s 2013 target completion date.

4) Heavyweight investors. You can often judge the quality of an investment by who laid down cash early, and Brightsource has gotten some ringing endorsements. NRG Energy, Inc.’s (NYSE:NRG) chipping in $300 million for the Ivanpah project, and Google’s investing another $168 million. Even the U.S. Department of Energy’s in the game. The agency is guaranteeing $1.6 billion in loans to Brightsource to see Ivanpah through completion.

5) By way of executive order. When California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-14-08 in 2008, the solar industry went mainstream overnight. The rule stipulates that California must get 33 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2020. Better yet, the requirement doesn’t count nuclear power and hydroelectric power as “renewable.” That means the push for solar and wind energy is greater in California than anywhere else in the country. Solar producers like Brightsource are big winners in the deal.

6) The bottom line. Brightsource has a long way to go before it’s profitable. The company generated just $13.5 million in revenue last year. It spent $71.63 million during that same period, per Reuters. Still, there’s a lot of work in the pipeline that could add up to big profits down the road. All told, the company “has $4 billion of revenue opportunity for us through sales of our systems,” most of which will come through 14 power purchase agreements California energy companies PG&E and SCE. Brightsource won’t be rolling in the green anytime soon, but barring any other tortoise-related problems, its future definitely looks bright.

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One Response to Brightsource IPO: 6 reasons to invest in solar giant

  1. [...] Su questa Ipo i commenti e le analisi si sprecano un po’ su tutti i siti che si occupano di green economy, specie dal punto di vista degli investimenti: segnalo ad esempio gli articoli usciti su Clean economy capitol e sul bellissimo Environmental Finance. C’è anche chi spiega quali sono i sei motivi per investire nella società. [...]

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