BrightSource Energy of Oakland, a solar power-plant developer whose first project won $1.6 billion in federal backing, abruptly canceled its initial public stock offering Wednesday night, just hours before trading was scheduled to begin.
The surprise move killed what had been the most hotly anticipated clean-tech IPO this spring. It casts doubt on investor appetite for similar offerings in the future.
The cancellation could also revive the debate over federal support for renewable power companies. Solar-module maker Solyndra of Fremont, which received $528 million from the same government program that funded BrightSource's first power plant, also canceled a planned IPO the year before it plunged into bankruptcy.
In a press release issued Wednesday night, BrightSource executives laid the blame for the cancellation on adverse market conditions and insisted the company's finances remain solid.