CMS Energy (CMS) Arm to Build Large-Scale Solar Farm in Michigan

CMS Energy Corp.’s CMS subsidiary, Consumers Energy, recently announced a partnership with the Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center to build the prior’s first large-scale solar project. This project, once operational, will put CMS a step ahead toward achieving its target of bringing 8,000 megawatts (MW) of solar online by 2040.  

The Muskegon Solar Energy Center, located in Michigan, is estimated to start construction in April 2024 and be operational by 2026. The farm, expected to generate 250 MW of solar electricity, will be able to power approximately 40,000 homes.

CMS’ Transition in Energy Space

Electric utilities in the United States are rapidly shifting their focus away from fossil fuels toward cleaner energy sources to reduce carbon emissions and ultimately attain zero-carbon goals.

As part of its clean energy portfolio expansion strategy, CMS Energy has a capital expenditure plan of $3.4 billion for clean energy generation, which includes investments in wind, solar and hydroelectric generation resources, during the 2024-2028 periods. This represents 20% of the company’s total capital expenditure.

Through these investments, Consumers Energy is focused on bringing 1,100 MW of solar capacity online by 2024 and plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Consumers Energy is also working on two other solar facilities, such as the Karn Solar Project in Bay County with a capacity of 85 MW and the Spring Creek Agri-Energy Center in Barry and Calhoun counties with a capacity of 140 MW.

These initiatives of CMS Energy, along with the latest addition of Muskegon Solar Energy Center to its portfolio, should enable it to duly achieve its zero-carbon goals.

Growth Prospects & Peer Moves

With the nations rapidly adopting renewable energy as their preferred source of energy, solar power has emerged as the largest constituent of this energy transition. The declining installation costs and favorable government policies are expected to drive the global solar industry in the coming days. To this end, a report from the Mordor Intelligence firm estimates that the solar energy market is expected witness a CAGR of 28.82% during 2024-2029.

To reap the benefits of such solid growth opportunities offered by the solar market, CMS Energy has been expanding its footprint in this space. Other utility players that are indulging in the expansion strategy to meet the growing demand of the solar market are as follows:

NiSource NI: The company currently owns two solar facilities, Indiana Crossroads Solar and Dunns Bridge I, which went into service in June 2023. While Indiana Crossroads Solar is a 200-MW facility, Dunns Bridge I Solar is a 265-MW facility. NI is currently constructing two more solar projects, the Cavalry Solar Plus Storage and Dunns Bridge 2 Solar Plus Storage, which are expected to be in service in late 2024.

NI has a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2024 sales implies a rise of 9.5% from 2023.

Ameren AEE: The company plans to add 2,800 MW of renewable resources by 2030 and 4,700 MW by 2036. Of this, 2,700 MW of solar will be installed by 2036. On Mar 21, 2024, Ameren Missouri received approval for its largest-ever solar investment to build or acquire approximately 400 MW of solar energy.

AEE boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 5.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2024 sales implies a rise of 9.4% from 2023.

Alliant Energy LNT: The company plans to bring 400 MW of solar energy online in Iowa in 2024. In January 2024, Alliant Energy announced the successful completion of the Crawfish River Solar Project with a capacity of 75 MW and the Beaver Dam Solar Project with a capacity of 50 MW. On Feb 13, 2024, LNT’s 4.5 MW Cedar Rapids Community Solar Garden started generating electricity.

LNT boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 6.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2024 sales implies a rise of 14.4% from 2023.

Price Performance

Over the past six months, shares of CMS have gained 9.9% compared with the industry’s 2.1% growth.

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Zacks Rank

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

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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