French Engineering Firm to Buy Cal. Solar Company

John Davis

A California-based solar company capable of building solar facilities that put out as much energy as a plant running on non-renewable fuels is being bought by a French engineering firm best known for its nuclear capabilities.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Areva will buy Ausra, a startup specializing in large-scale solar power:

The deal will give Areva a way to break into the growing worldwide business for big solar facilities that can generate as much electricity as a fossil fuel power plant. Although Areva is best known for its nuclear expertise, the company has branched out into other forms of renewable power generation, such as biomass and wind.

Ausra, in turn, will get a worldwide platform for its concentrated solar thermal technology, which uses mirrors to focus sunlight, boil water, generate steam and turn turbines. Ausra will form the basis of Areva’s new global solar energy business, which will match Ausra’s technology with Areva’s track record for building large power plants.

“By combining Areva’s strengths and Ausra’s technology, now we have the complete package we need to go to market,” said Robert Fishman, Ausra’s chief executive officer.

Ausra’s business headquarters will stay in California.