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NRG Energy Inc.’s (NRG - Analyst Report) renewable division NRG Solar announced the commencement of operation at its 66 megawatt ("MW") Alpine Generating station in Los Angeles County, California. The (AC) photovoltaic facility will generate adequate energy to power around 53,000 homes at peak hours during the daytime.

The unit’s electricity output will be bought by PG&E Corporation (PCG - Analyst Report) for a period of 20 years. The aim behind this and other similar large-scale solar projects is to diminish the company’s dependence on fossil fuels and generate clean energy during the warmest part of the day when electricity demand is at its highest.

Apart from Alpine Station, NRG Energy has seven projects lined up some of which are completed and some currently underway. These include the Agua Caliente, Borrego, Avenal, Blythe and California Solar Valley Ranch facilities which are presently in the construction phase while Avra Valley and Roadrunner in Mexico have been completed and brought into service.

NRG Energy is also vying for a ninth solar initiative, Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System located in California which is anticipated to come online by the end of 2013.

This solar project will help in cutting back carbon dioxide emissions by about 36,000 tons and is expected to provide green energy sourced power at cost-competitive prices to indigenous utilities.

The Alpine project is another profitable addition to NRG Energy’s green asset basket and will support California’s proposed 33% renewable energy target. The company’s strategic solar programs will help maintain its momentum given the U.S. government’s increasing steps towards promoting clean electricity in the future.

Moreover, as per the Energy Information Administration (“EIA”), renewable consumption is poised to witness a 3.6% jump in 2013 which will serve well the company’s growth objectives.

However, natural gas and shale sources continue to be the most popular among energy producers owing to their abundance in the U.S. These cheap and most abundant sources provide stiff competition to renewables. As of now, NRG Energy holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other utilities keen on upgrading its green asset portfolio are NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE - Analyst Report), Dominion Resources Inc. (D - Snapshot Report) and Sempra Energy (SRE - Analyst Report).

Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, NRG Energy together with its subsidiaries operates as an integrated wholesale power generation and retail electricity company.

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