Duke Energy Renewables, a unit of
Duke Energy Corporation
), has completed the acquisition of two commercial solar power
projects, namely, Highlander Solar 1 and 2 for an undisclosed
amount. The company has purchased the projects from SolarWorld.
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The project developer, SolarWorld, has been engaged in the
engineering, procuring, and building of the project after
purchasing the sites in May 2012. The projects comprise of
100,188 SolarWorld Sunmodule solar panels that are installed on
its Suntrac single-axis trackers. SolarWorld intends to complete
the construction in the second quarter of 2013, with the project
coming online thereafter.
Located near Twentynine Palms, Calif., both the projects will run
as a single operation as it is located almost next to each other.
Together, Highlander Solar 1 and 2 will generate 21 megawatts
("MW") of renewable energy which is sufficient to power more than
4,000 average homes every year. Under a 20-year purchase power
agreement, all the electricity generated from the two projects
will be sold to
Post completion, the project will be the largest operating
crystalline-silicon solar installation in Calif. Besides
enlarging its footprint in a key U.S. renewable market, the
project will enable the state in meeting their renewable energy
goals by providing affordable, zero-emission solar power. By
2020, the state is committed to generate 33% of the electricity
from sources like wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and small
Since 2007, Duke Energy has invested more than $2.5 billion to
grow its commercial wind and solar business. Including
Highlander, Duke Energy has 15 U.S. solar farms with a total
generation capacity of more than 100 MW.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy is a diversified energy company
with a portfolio of domestic and international, natural gas and
electric, regulated and unregulated businesses, which supply,
deliver, and process energy for customers in North America and
selected international markets.
Duke Energy focuses on core utility operations to build its rate
base through capital expenditure investments. Additionally, the
company is proactively and effectively mitigating long-term
environmental-related risks through investment plans and
constructive dialogue with policymakers. These factors have in
fact propelled the company to attain its 52-week high price on
Apr 8, 2013.
However, we remain concerned about the present unfavorable macro
backdrop, predominantly fossil-fuel based generation assets,
tepid demand for electricity and a few pending regulatory cases.
The company presently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Stocks worth considering are
Huaneng Power International, Inc.
Pike Electric Corporation
), both with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).