Failed BrightSource IPO Adds to Industry Woes

BrightSource Energy’s decision to shelve its planned IPO may be a sign that alternative-energy firms may not be welcome in the stock markets, according to the WSJ.

Evidence of the IPO market turning away from alternative energy companies includes last month’s IPO of Enphase Energy, a maker solar microinverters, which ended up selling its shares at $6, only half of its target price.

A “doom and gloom”mentality is pervading the solar market due to falling prices and a global oversupply of solar panels, in addition to incentives being cut in key solar markets, including Germany and Italy, according Paula Mints, a solar-market analyst at Navigant Consulting in Palo Alto.

The stock of U.S. solar-panel maker and solar-farm developer First Solar Inc. has plummeted from $145 a year ago to $22 at Thursday’s close.

Sheeraz Haji, CEO of consulting firm The Cleantech Group, says he believes that the market may not be able to distinguish strong clean tech companies from struggling solar companies, according to the Journal article.  BrightSource won $1.5 billion in federal loans under the same government program from which Solyndra obtained $500 million in loans before it went bankrupt last September.

Mr. Haji went on to state that the BrightSource’s IPO experience could have a “chilling effect on other clean-technology companies hoping to go public.”

BrightSource has worked to distinguish itself from other solar developers and to maintain that their technology, which uses arrays of mirrors to produce steam that drives power turbines, can generate more consistent electricity than other solar panels.

According to the Journal, NRG Energy has pledged to invest $300 million in BrightSource’s current power project and NRG’s CEO David Crane says the company is doing a good job and that its IPO doesn’t affect the project at all.

To read the full Wall Street Journal article cited in this story, click here


Tags: DealsM&A , Solar

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