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The Light Burns Out on BrightSource IPO

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted April 13, 2012

BrightSource Energy was all set up for an initial public offering.  The company was scheduled to go public on Thursday.

But on Wednesday night, shortly before shares began trading, the company cancelled its IPO.

The solar company had great success in the recent past, receiving a $1.6 billion loan for its California Ivanpah system.  It was even working with companies like Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), and its IPO was promising for the cleantech industry.

But the company began struggling in the past year with competition from China that sent solar prices plummeting and competition from other clean energy sources, like natural gas, that stole the spotlight.

BrightSource CEO John Woolard issued a statement after the cancellation:

“While we received significant interest from potential investors, the continued market and economic volatility are not optimal conditions for an IPO.  As a company, we’ve consistently made decisions in the best interest of our shareholders, employees, and customers, and we will continue to do so.”

It seemed likely that BrightSource would avoid the pain of solar panel price drops over the past year, since the company makes mirrors to direct sunlight to solar towers instead of traditional solar panels.

But the trend in the markets diluted the company’s confidence.

According to BrightSource’s SEC filing, the company planned to price shares between $21 and $23.  It wanted to raise $182.5 million in IPO, but this began to seem unlikely, leading to the cancellation.

BrightSource is in the process of constructing its biggest project.  The $2.2 billion Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a 392-megawatt field in the Mojave Desert, is scheduled for completion in 2013.

The company has power purchase agreements in place with PG&E and Southern California Edison for the project.

That’s all for now,


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