Delivering on solar’s promise
BrightSource Energy designs, develops and deploys concentrating solar thermal technology to produce high-value steam for electric power, petroleum and industrial-process markets worldwide. BrightSource combines breakthrough technology with world-class solar power plant design capabilities to generate clean energy reliably and responsibly. BrightSource’s LPT solar thermal system is designed to minimize impact to the environment and help customers reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., BrightSource Energy is a privately held company with operations in the United States, China, Europe, Israel and South Africa.
BrightSource has approximately 1.8 gigawatts of power under contracts with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric Company, California’s two largest utilities. In addition, the company manages an approximately 90,000 acre development site portfolio in California and the U.S. Southwest that has the potential to accommodate approximately 9 GW of installed capacity.
A history of solar expertise
The principal members of our technical team pioneered the first utility-scale solar energy plants nearly three decades ago by designing and developing 354 MW of solar thermal electric power plants, which remain in operation today. In addition, the team has extensive finance and project development expertise, and has collectively developed, constructed, and managed more than 20 gigawatts, or GW, of solar, wind and conventional power projects worldwide. Today, the BrightSource technical team is building on this experience to advance the solar thermal industry by developing and deploying a solar power tower system that provides both higher solar energy conversion efficiencies and lower costs.
Clean, reliable, and cost-competitive energy
BrightSource’s LPT solar thermal technology generates power the same way as traditional power plants – by creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels or nuclear power to create the steam, BrightSource uses the sun’s energy.
BrightSource’s system uses proprietary software to control thousands of tracking mirrors, known as heliostats, to directly concentrate sunlight onto a boiler filled with water that sits atop a tower. When the sunlight hits the boiler, the water inside is heated and creates high temperature steam. Once produced, the steam is used either in a conventional turbine to produce electricity or in industrial process applications, such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). By integrating conventional power block components, such as turbines, with our proprietary technology and state-of-the-art solar field design, projects using our systems are able to deliver cost-competitive, reliable and clean power when needed most. In addition, by integrating our technology with natural gas or other fossil fuels through a process referred to as hybridization, projects using our systems are able to further increase output and reliability.