The New Jersey utility,
NRG Energy Inc.
) solar business arm, NRG Solar, announced that its Avra Valley
Generating Station located about 20 miles west of Tucson, Arizona
has come online. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement, NRG
Energy will supply the solar power generated from this facility
to Tucson Electric Power ("TEP"), a subsidiary of
UNS Energy Corporation
The 25 megawatt ("MW") (AC) photovoltaic ("PV") facility is
the largest project to add value to TEP's renewable energy
portfolio. The company is heavily investing in solar programs and
has six projects in the pipeline. Of these, the Avra Valley is
the first project to come into operation.
Another NRG Energy project is the Agua Caliente in Yuma
County, Arizona which is expected to be concluded in 2014. Other
projects include Roadrunner in Dona Ana County in New Mexico and
the Avenal, Blythe and California Valley Solar Ranch ("CVSR")
programs in California which are anticipated to be completed in
The solar project is expected to adequately power around 5,000
households and will be equipped to supply electricity to 20,000
homes when production is at full steam. Besides, the eco-friendly
program will help curb CO2 emission by roughly 51,500 metric tons
on an annual basis.
With solar steadily becoming the most sought-after renewable
energy source next to wind in the U.S. market, we believe the
Avra project is a valuable addition to the company's green asset
basket. NRG Energy recently delivered the first 22 MW of the
250-MW CVSR program to the electrical grid. CVSR is touted as one
of the largest PV solar plants in the world.
All in all NRG Solar has over 2,000 MW of solar projects under
its belt across the southwestern U.S. The potential upside in
renewable usage in the coming years will certainly complement the
company's future renewable growth goals.
However, cheap natural gas continues to capture attention of
the energy producers with its abundance in the U.S. and will
present serious challenges to renewables as it has done to coal.
The company currently retains a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold
Another operator in the utility space,
DTE Energy Company
) is also gearing up its renewable portfolio status. The company
received approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission for
the second phase of the Solar Currents expansion program, which
includes a pilot program for customer-owned solar installations
that has met its goal of 5 MW and a utility-owned installation
with a goal of 15 MW.
The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the fourth quarter and full
year 2012 are currently pegged at 15 cents and 79 cents per
share, respectively. With a market capitalization of $5.19
billion, the company has a total of 5,193 employees.
DTE ENERGY CO (DTE): Free Stock Analysis
NRG ENERGY INC (NRG): Free Stock Analysis
UNS ENERGY CORP (UNS): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.