Dominion Energy Inc. D recently unveiled a solar and energy storage project at the Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC, marking the largest renewable energy project ever developed at a U.S. airport. The construction work on the project will begin in late 2023 and is expected to be complete by late 2026.
Dominion Energy, in partnership with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (“MWAA”), plans an 835-acre, 100 megawatts (MW) capacity solar energy on the southwestern edge of the airport, along with a 50 MW energy storage facility. The project will generate enough to power more than 37,000 Virginia households at peak output.
According to the terms of the lease agreement, instead of annual lease payments to MWAA, Dominion will provide the airport with 18 electric transit buses, 50 electric fleet vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations and two 1 MW solar carports to partially power Dulles facilities.
Transition to Renewable Energy
Like other utilities, Dominion Energy boasts a prudent strategy to enhance its clean energy portfolio. The solar project will join its other renewable energy initiatives to achieve net-zero emissions from its electric generation and natural gas infrastructure by 2050.
D continues to make systematic investments in solar, battery storage and hydropower projects. The company has planned an investment of $42 billion in offshore wind and solar projects during 2022-2035.
Solar energy constitutes a major portion of the U.S. renewables market. As stated by Wood Mackenzie in its latest report, solar constituted 54% of the new electricity-generating capacity additions in the nation in the first quarter of 2023, outweighing all other energy sources. Per the Solar Energy Industries Association report, the solar market is projected to triple over the next five years.
This should benefit Dominion Energy and other prominent utility players like NextEra Energy Inc. NEE, Entergy Corp. ETR and Alliant Energy Corp. LNT that are enhancing their footprint in the U.S. solar market.
NextEra plans to add 33-42 gigawatts (GW) of new renewables during the 2023-2026 period. In July 2023, NextEra Energy partnered with Sysco Corporation to help the global foodservice distribution company reduce its carbon footprint.
NEE’s long-term (three- to five-year) earnings growth rate is 8.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2023 sales indicates an increase of 29.4% over 2022’s reported figure.
Entergy has almost doubled its renewable capacity in the past three years and plans to add more than 4,500 MW by the end of 2025. The company’s subsidiary, Entergy Mississippi, is expected to be the fastest-growing renewable power portfolio in the state and one of the fastest-growing in the country. It currently has a 180 MW West Memphis Solar facility, which is expected to achieve commercial operation in 2024.
ETR’s long-term earnings growth rate is 5.7%. The stock boasts a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 3.41%.
Alliant Energy is the largest owner-operator of regulated solar in Wisconsin. The company plans to add 1.1 GW of solar energy within the state by mid-2024. In August 2023, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approved two Alliant Energy battery energy storage projects — the 100-MW Grant County Battery Project and the 75-MW Wood County Battery Project.
LNT’s long-term earnings growth rate is 6.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2023 sales indicates an increase of 4.8% over 2022’s reported figure.
In the past three months, shares of Dominion Energy have lost 6.8 % compared with the industry’s 5.4% decrease.
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Dominion Energy currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
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