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Sempra Generation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sempra Energy (SRE - Analyst Report), has received the 2011 Solar Energy Industries Association Solar Champion Award in the Project Developer category.  The award was announced at the Solar Power International 2011 conference in Dallas.

Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry.  Working with its 1,000 member companies, the organization is helping to grow and advance the solar industry through advocacy, policy development and education on the benefits of solar energy. 

The recognition is based on significant strides the company has made in 2010 in adding solar capacity in America, and contributing to the industry goal of achieving 10 gigawatts of new annual installed capacity by 2015.

Sempra Generation is a leading developer of utility-scale solar projects in the U.S.  The company operates the 48-megawatt (MW) Copper Mountain Solar 1 project in Boulder City, Nevada, which is currently the largest photovoltaic solar plant in the U.S.  The company is also planning to expand the above project by 150 MW. Construction for the same is expected to begin in 2012.  The company also recently broke ground on its 150-MW Mesquite Solar 1 project in Arizona, with completion anticipated in 2013. 

Sempra Energy is a southern California-based energy services holding company involved in the sale, distribution, storage, and transportation of electricity and natural gas. The company presents a lower risk profile relative to its peers.

Its diversified exposure protects Sempra Energy from regulatory rate risks. This favorable outlook is supported by stable utility earnings, the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, ongoing installations of smart meter and renewable power projects in the Pacific Southwest.

However, we are concerned about a lack of any near-term positive triggers, along with near-term trepidation in natural gas prices, and pending regulatory cases. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold). Over the longer run we maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock. The company competes head to head with Energen Corporation (EGN - Snapshot Report).

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