Ausra has become the latest credit-crunched solar startup to seek a buyer/investor to bankroll its expansion. As I write Tuesday in The New York Times:
Disrupting trillion-dollar energy markets is expensive, as solar companies like OptiSolar and Solel have found. Both sold out to larger, deep-pocketed companies this year.
Now Ausra, a high-profile solar company bankrolled by some of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, has become the latest renewable energy startup to put itself on the block.
Ausra, which makes solar thermal equipment to generate electricity, is in negotiations with three large international companies interested in taking a majority ownership stake in the venture, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The negotiations were first reported by Reuters.
All three potential acquirers are companies that make equipment for conventional power generation. Ausra declined to comment. Founded in Australia to build solar power plants, Ausra relocated to Silicon Valley and secured funding in 2007 from marquee venture capital firms Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and other investors.
Ausra soon filed plans to build one of the first new solar farms in California in 20 years. The company also built a factory in Las Vegas to manufacture long mirror arrays that focus the sun on water-filled tubes to create steam to drive electricity-generating turbines.
But as the credit crunch made building billion-dollar solar power plants an increasingly dicey proposition, Ausra switched gears earlier this year to focus on supplying solar thermal equipment to other developers.
You can read the rest of the story here.