January 20, 2011 / 5:56 PM / in 7 years

Bloom Energy to offer electricity contracts

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Silicon Valley fuel cell maker Bloom Energy is beginning to sell 10-year electricity contracts in addition to straight out sales of its machines, the start-up said on Thursday.

Credit Suisse CSGN.VX will provide financing for the service by Bloom, one of the best-known new companies focusing on alternative energy and clean technology. Its machines use electrochemical chemical processes to turn natural gas and biogas into energy.

Chief Financial Officer Bill Kurtz said by telephone that the new offering would essentially double demand, since many customers preferred to avoid the capital costs of buying machines and that Bloom’s profit margins were equal for both transactions.

He declined to comment on Bloom profitability.

A Bloom box produces enough energy for about 100 homes or a small office. The company is making about one machine per day and plans to double that rate over the next year. It has enough capital to carry out the 2011 business plan, Kurtz added.

Customers under the lease-style program, called Bloom Electron, get a 5 percent to 20 percent break on electricity prices, compared with a 20 percent savings over a 10-year lifetime of a purchased machine, he said. (Reporting by Peter Henderson; editing by Andre Grenon)

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