Israeli solar power company BrightSource Energy is in the news this week after receiving an unexpected endorsement from US President, Barack Obama.
The company, which is reportedly planning an IPO on NASDAQ, is building solar energy power plants in California’s Mojave Desert, which are slated to produce more than 2,600 megawatts of solar electricity, more than doubling the solar thermal electricity produced in the US today.
In his weekly radio address, Obama told listeners that this October, BrightSource will break ground on a “revolutionary new type of solar power plant”.
“It’s going to put about a thousand people to work building a state-of-the-art facility. And when it’s complete, it will turn sunlight into the energy that will power up to 140,000 homes – the largest such plant in the world. Not in China. Not in India. But in California,” he said.
“With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations,” he continued.
BrightSource, which is based in Jerusalem, was founded by solar energy pioneer Arnold Goldman, the former founder and CEO of Israeli company Luz International, one of the world’s first solar energy companies.
In the last two years, BrightSource, which has a solar energy development center in Israel’s Negev Desert, has signed the two largest solar power agreements in the world – to produce 1,300 megawatts for Southern California Edison, and 1,310 megawatts for Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
According to Dow Jones Venture Wire, the company is preparing for an IPO in 2011. In May, the company raised $150 million in a fourth round of financing.