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Duke Energy (DUK) Announces Acquisition of Wildflower Solar

Duke Energy Corporation’s DUK non-regulated commercial brand, Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, recently marked its entry into the Mississippi solar market by acquiring a 100-megawatt (MW) Wildflower Solar project from Clearway Energy Group.

Through the acquisition, the company takes a step forward in boosting its solar energy portfolio to achieve clean energy goals.

Details of the Acquisition

The Wildflower Solar project, anticipated to be constructed toward the end of 2022, boasts enough capacity to power almost 21,000 homes. Duke Energy’s first solar energy project in Mississippi is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2023.

At the onset of its operations, the project will deliver up to 80 MW of the solar energy produced to Toyota North America per a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement between the two companies. This will assist the Toyota manufacturing facility in reducing carbon emissions from its operations.

Further, the deal entails steady revenue generation prospects from the project in the long term.

Growth Prospects

Utilities in the United States are increasingly focusing on reducing their carbon footprint from their operations to deliver clean and sustainable energy to customers. In their goal to become more environmentally friendly, the companies are boasting solid renewable energy-focused investment initiatives.

The latest report from the EIA suggests that 22% of the U.S. electricity generation in 2022 and 24% in 2023 will be renewable sources. This signifies an increase from 20% of the U.S. electricity generation in 2020 from renewable sources. The report entails solar and wind sources to contribute to most of the increase in renewable capacity addition in two years.

Duke Energy already lowered its carbon emissions in 2021 by more than 44% since 2005. It is now expanding its 2050 net-zero goals to include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions.

To attain its goal, Duke Energy has been significantly investing in renewable projects. DUK’s solar and wind power businesses boast an investment of $5 billion, while it owns and operates approximately 500 MW of photovoltaic solar power projects at more than 50 solar plants across the country.

The recent acquisition made by the company boosts its renewable portfolio and adds to its commitment to duly meet its target in 2050.

Peer Moves

Utilities that have goals set to steadily expand in the renewable space to achieve the green energy target in their operations are as follows:

American Electric Power Company’s AEP plans include growing its renewable generation portfolio to approximately 50% of the total capacity by 2030. Its 2023-2027 capital investment forecast includes $8.6 billion in the regulated renewable plan.

American Electric’s long-term (three to five years) earnings growth rate is pegged at 6.2%. AEP shares have increased 8.8% in the past month.

Ameren AEE targets to expand its renewable portfolio by adding 2,800 MW of renewable generation by the end of 2030 and a total of 4,700 MW of renewable generation by 2040 and 800 MW of battery storage by 2040.

Ameren has a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.2%. AEE shares have returned 10.8% in the past month.

CMS Energy CMS aims at spending $2.8 billion on renewables, which includes investments in wind, solar and hydroelectric generation resources in the 2022-2026 period. The company aims at achieving net-zero methane emissions by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

CMS Energy boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 8%. CMS shares have returned 9.1% to its investors in the past month.

Price Movement

In the past month, shares of Duke Energy have rallied 9.2% compared with the industry’s growth of 6.1%.

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Zacks Rank

Duke 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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