Areva, one of the world’s largest maker of�nuclear reactors,�has acquired Mountain View, Calif., -based solar-thermal equipment maker Ausra, which had been on the auction block, talking to potential buyers�at least sine November.
Paris-based Areva and Ausra did not disclose financial or other terms of the deal.
In a prepared statement Ausra CEO Robert Fishman said:
By acquiring Ausra, Areva has taken a major step forward to achieve its strategic ambition in renewables. The Group intends to become the world leader in the Concentrated Solar Power market…
Areva expects the market for concentrated solar power plants to grow by at least 20 percent over the next decade, to reach an estimated installed capacity of over 20 gigawatts by 2020.
This past year has been a wild ride for Ausra. Unable to secure financing to develop its large utility-scale solar project, Fishman last year said the company would walk away from that business and instead focus on selling and deploying selling�solar thermal systems for the distributed generation market.
To oversee the sale of these smaller projects, last year it hired Thomas Caulfield as president and COO from chipmaker Novellus Systems
So is Ausra back in the utility-scale business? Yes, it certainly looks like it.� It’s now backed by Areva’s significant balance sheet, which itself is backed by the French government, the company’s majority shareholder, will make a lot easier to convince project finance banks to lend.
Fishman will stay on as head of Areva’s newly formed global solar business unit, which will operate out of Ausra�s Mountain View, headquarter.
Ausra backers include: Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Beyers, KERN Partners, Generation Investment Management and Starfish Ventures.
The acquisition is expected to close in the next few months, subject to customary regulatory approval.