OGE Energy Builds Two Solar Farms in Oklahoma, Cuts Emission

OGE Energy Corp.’s OGE electric utility subsidiary OG&E has completed the construction of two 5 megawatt solar energy farms in southeast Oklahoma, which was announced in February. Notably, the tribes Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation will benefit from the solar projects built in Davis and Durant, respectively.

Both these tribes bought nearly 50% of each solar project output through the unit's solar tariff while the remaining capacity is made available to the customers. With the increased solar capacity, nearly 4,600 customers are subscribed to OG&E Solar Power.

The solar farms are located on 35 acres of land eachand can power 1,785 homes. These contain 15,344 solar panels, which use single-axis tracking, allowing them to spin 60 degrees from east to west.

Other Environment-Friendly Efforts

Remarkably, in 2015, OG&E became the first utility in Oklahoma to offer universal solar energy to customers with the construction of its first solar installation at Mustang Energy Center. Combining the new farms along with the company's solar farms in Mustang and Covington, OG&E's total solar energy acreage rose to more than 168 acres.

Taking initiatives to generate electricity from renewable energy sources allowed the company to lower its emission levels from electricity-generation process. It reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 40% from the 2005 levels. During the same period, emissions of ozone-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) were cut by approximately 75% were emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) were trimmed by nearly 90%.

Going ahead, the utility expects to further slash carbon dioxide emissions to 50% of the 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this target, OG&E converted two coal-fired generating units at the Muskogee Station to natural gas among other measures.

U.S. Solar Future

With the whole world inclining toward renewable energy, the U.S. electric utility industry is shifting its focus to the same for electricity generation. To this end, utility companies are increasingly focusing on lowering toxic emissions by implementing innovative technologies. Per a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, utility-scale solar capacity is expected to rise by 13.7 gigawatt (GW) in 2020 and by 11.8 GW in 2021.

Such growth prospects encouraged electric utilities like Alliant Energy LNT, NextEra Energy, Inc. NEE and Consolidated Edison ED to tap the opportunity to shift to solar energy as this will make their business strategy environmentally sustainable.

Alliant targets to add 1000 MW of solar powered production in its portfolio within 2023 while NextEra Energy announced a “30-by-30” plan to install more than 30 million solar panels in Florida by 2030. Also, Consolidated Edison is investing steadily in enhancing its renewable generation assets and it already generated 1,784 million kWh of electricity from its solar projects in the second quarter.

Zacks Rank & Price Movement

The company currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Shares of the company have declined 0.8% in the past six months against the industry’s growth of 0.4%.

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