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Large-scale solar plant developer BrightSource Energy is quietly preparing for an IPO, reports Dow Jones Venture Wire, citing two people familiar with the company’s plans.

According to the article, the company has hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to begin preparations for a public offering that is likely to happen in 2011. BrightSource probably won’t chance the choppy cleantech IPO waters this year, the unnamed source says.

A BrightSource IPO has been the source of speculation for awhile now. NextUp Research forecasted earlier this month that the company could go public within two to three years – but it looks now that it could happen even sooner.

The company has certainly been building up steam. Its fourth round of equity financing in May netted $150 million, bringing total equity financing to $330 million to date. BrightSource also recently won a recommendation for the California Energy Commission’s approval to move forward on a 392-megawatt development in the Mojave Desert, a big win for the planned solar thermal project that could power 140,000 homes. It also won a huge loan guarantee — worth $1.4 billion — from the Department of Energy for the project. Update: Brightsource just announced the CEC has given its approval for the Ivanpah project.

BrightSource’s investors include VantagePoint, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Morgan Stanley, Chevron and Google.

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