Bright Source Energy (no Web site), an Oakland start-up that designs and builds large solar power plants with new technology, has finished its first round of funding with investments from two new investors, VentureWire reports today.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the J.P. Morgan Bay Area Equity Fund joined previous investor VantagePoint Venture Partners in a round of “under $50 million.” VentureBeat first covered the company, formerly known as Luz II, here.

Bright Source is significant because it aims to produce solar power at about 10 cents per kilowatt hour, which is about half the cost of the photovoltaic technology typical on residential roofs. This comes close to the price of natural gas, which is the benchmark used for California pricing of energy. Natural gas cost 8.5 to 9 cents per kilowatt hour.

Bright Source is still raising project financing for the construction of its solar-thermal towers for PG&E, it told VentureWire. Other companies in this area are Ausra, backed by Khosla Ventures, and Infinia, a Kennewick, Wash. company, which is looking for financing, according to VentureWire.


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