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Duke Energy (DUK) Acquires 200 MW Solar Project in Texas

Zacks Equity Research

Duke Energy Corporation DUK announced that its non-regulated unit — Duke Energy Renewables — has acquired the 200-megawatt (MW) Holstein solar project from 8minute Solar Energy in Texas. Blattner Energy will develop the project, which is expected to begin services in the summer of 2020.

Post completion, First Solar FSLR will provide O&M services to the project for five years. Moreover, most of the energy generated from the project will be sold to Goldman Sachs’ GS subsidiary, J. Aron & Company LLC, through a hedge agreement of 12 years.

The company has already lowered emission by 31% from 2005 levels. Notably, this acquisition will contribute and help the company to achieve its renewable goal of 40% carbon emission reduction by 2030.

Focus on Renewables

Duke Energy is continuously enhancing its renewable asset through expanding wind and solar portfolio. In 2018, it has 3,000 MW generating facility across 14 states, comprising 21 wind and 64 solar facilities. The company has invested nearly $5 billion on its wind and solar power businesses since 2007. It owns and operates nearly 500 MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar power projects at more than 50 solar plants across the country.

In Florida, it is set to build up to 700 MW of solar projects. In May, the company acquired 60-MW project in Colorado. Moreover, Duke Energy has other two solar projects in Colorado totaling more than 70 MW. The recent project will be the company’s third solar generation facility in Texas. Going forward, such initiatives will likely expand Duke Energy’s solar footprint.

Increasing Usage of Renewables

Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”),Wind, solar and other non-hydropower renewables will contribute 11% in 2019 and 13% in 2020 to total utility-scale generation.  Renewables and other clean energy sources continue to affect the usage of coal in electricity generation in the United States. Greenhouse gas emission during power generation and its impact on the environment is a concern. To transform their production portfolio, utilities are gradually shifting from coal to cleaner sources.

Another utility, NextEra Energy NEE, is also focusing on solar energy.Its unit — Florida Power & Light Company (“FPL”) — is working on the ‘30-by-30' plan. The objective of the plan is to install more than 30 million solar panels by 2030.

Zacks Rank & Price Performance

Duke Energy currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Shares of Duke Energy have gained 10.3% compared with industry’s 11.9% in the past 12 months.

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