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Google invests in solar power start-up

Posted: 19 May 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:alternative energy  solar power 

Search engine giant Google continues its efforts in alternative energy start-ups, this time with BrightSource Energy Inc.

Utility-scale solar energy projects developer, BrightSource, secured an additional corporate funding of Rs.460.24 crore ($115 million) from its Series C round of financing.

This brings the total capitalisation to over Rs.640.34 crore ($160 million) for BrightSource. These additional funds will enable the company 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 the syndicate, which includes BP Alternative Energy, StatoilHydro Venture, Black River and, a venture capital arm of Google.

All of the company's existing investors, including Morgan Stanley, DBL Investors (formerly a 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 for up to 900MW of electricity. BrightSource is currently developing a number of solar power plants in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, with construction of the first plant planned to start in 2009.

Meanwhile, Google is active in the solar arena. Last month, solar start-up eSolar Inc., a producer of ''scalable'' solar thermal power plants, closed Rs.520.27 crore ($130 million) in funding from several investors, including the search-engine giant.

In 2006, Nanosolar, a start-up originally funded by Google announced a Rs.400.21 crore ($100 million) financing package and set plans to build what the company claims as the world's largest solar-cell manufacturing facility in California.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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