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Google funds solar startup BrightSource

Posted: 19 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Solar? Power Plants? Energy?

Google Inc. continues to invest in alternative energy startups. This time, the search-engine giant has invested in BrightSource Energy Inc.

BrightSource, a developer of utility-scale solar energy projects, has secured a total of $115 million as added corporate funding from its Series C round of financing.

This results in the total capitalization of over $160 million for BrightSource. The additional funding will enable Google to accelerate its plans to deliver utility-grade solar power to customers. BrightSource designs, builds, finances and operates utility-scale solar power plants.

VantagePoint Venture Partners, the company's initial investor, played a major role in forming a syndicate, which includes, BP Alternative Energy, StatoilHydro Venture and Black River. is a venture capital arm of Google.

All of the company's existing investors, including Morgan Stanley, DBL Investors (a former subsidiary of JP Morgan), Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Chevron Technology Ventures participated in the round.

In March 2008, BrightSource entered into a series of power purchase agreements with PG&E Corp. for up to 900MW electricity. BrightSource is currently developing a number of solar power plants in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, with construction of its first plant to start in 2009.

Meanwhile, Google is active in the solar arena. Last month, solar startup eSolar Inc., a producer of ''scalable'' solar-thermal power plants, closed $130 million in funding from several investors, including the search-engine giant.

In 2006, a startup originally funded by Google announced a $100-million financing package and set plans to build what the company claims as the world's largest solar-cell manufacturing facility in California. This solar-cell startup is called Nanosolar.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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