BrightSource cancels IPO

Solar thermal developer BrightSource Energy Inc. canceled its bid to go public citing poor market conditions.

BrightSource hoped to pursue its initial public offering (IPO) on April 12 to raise up to $182.5m but notified the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on April 12 of its decision to cancel the offering and withdraw the S-1 filing.

“While we received significant interest from potential investors, the continued market and economic volatility are not optimal conditions for an IPO,” John Woolard, President and CEO of BrightSource Energy, said in a statement. “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. Fortunately, we’re in a strong financial position and have the support of world-class investors and partners.”

BrightSource Energy deploys concentrating solar thermal technology to produce steam to spin conventional turbines to produce electricity.

Its signature project is the 392-MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which when completed will be the largest solar thermal project in the world. It is under construction on federal lands in the Mojave Desert. Three power purchase agreements with units of PG&E (NYSE: PCG) and Edison International (NYSE: EIX) have been executed.

The project received a $1.6bn federal loan guarantee last year. It also attracted a $300m investment from NRG unit NRG Solar and another $168m from Google. The company has also attracted investments from the Silicon Valley venture capital community.

“With our pipeline of U.S. contracts and our flagship Ivanpah project, we have established a leading position in the domestic solar thermal energy space,” added Woolard. “We will continue to execute on our business plan to grow domestically and expand internationally to meet the growing demand for our technology.”

In documents filed with the SEC, BrightSource cited several risks to its business plan, including: “We have generated substantial net losses and negative operating cash flows since our inception and expect to continue to do so for the foreseeable future as part of the development and construction of solar thermal energy projects using our systems;

“We depend heavily on federal, state and local government support for renewable energy sources, which is subject to change;”

CSP plants are also competing with lower-cost solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, which have seen its costs decline significantly in recent years.