Solar company BrightSource sets price range for IPO

Solar thermal company BrightSource has set the price range for its planned IPO at $21 to $23 per share for its 6.9 million shares. The company, which first filed for an IPO last April, could raise $182.51 million when it makes its market debut on the Nasdaq under the symbol BRSE.

BrightSource also says in its latest amended filing that investor Alstom Power and Caithness Development plan to purchase $65 million and $10 million worth of common stock, respectively, in private placements.

BrightSource’s pricing move represents the third greentech company this week to set share prices on the way to IPOs. Both waste to fuel company Enerkem and solar inverter company Enphase Energy priced the range of their shares this week. These actions could potentially be an indicator that the window for greentech IPOs could be opening up.

BrightSource, founded in 2006, previously said it might raise as much as $250 million in an IPO, but with the private placements will be raising around the same amount of funds. BrightSource is building one of the first large scale solar thermal plants in the U.S., Ivanpah, made of next-gen solar power technology, in the desert in California. Ivanpah is a quarter completed.

Completing Ivanpah will be crucial for BrightSource’s survival because the company has yet to demonstrate that it’s able to develop and deliver a large-scale project — doing so will help it line up more money and more customers. The company has raised $2.2 billion in equity and debt to finance Ivanpah’s construction.

The 392MW project has generated a lot of controversy because of its impact on the desert tortoise. In fact, the discovery of a higher-than-expected number of tortoises on the project site prompted BrightSource to halt construction on parts of the project last year. Work resumed in June.

For the year ended December 2011, BrightSource generated $159.10 million in revenues, and lost $110.96 million. To date BrightSource says it has incurred losses of about $288.2 million.

An interesting note in the filing: BrightSource points out that investor VantagePoint Capital Partners will own approximately 18.6 percent and Alstom will own approximately 21.9 percent of outstanding shares of common stock following the offering and the private placements.