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Duke Energy (DUK) Begins 22.6-MW Solar Project Construction

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Duke Energy (DUK - Free Report) has recently commenced construction on the 22.6-MW Speedway Solar power plant in Cabarrus County, N.C. The project will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, a new brand that includes Duke Energy Renewables.

A Brief Note on the Speedway Solar Power Plant

Duke Energy’s Speedway Solar power plant will contain about 77,000 bifacial modules with single-axis tracking, manufactured by JinkoSolar (JKS - Free Report) . The 22.6-MW power plant facility will be able to power approximately 5,000 homes in the region.

Duke Energy currently targets commercial operation by the end of 2021.

Duke Energy’s Growth Prospects in North Carolina

As the entire United States is transitioning toward a clean energy economy, the Carolinas are leading the nation in terms of carbon emission reduction in the electric sector. In particular, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, in 2019, announced its projections of substantial increases in renewable energy generation approximately to 33,000 GWh by 2030.

To this end, it is imperative to mention that Duke Energy operates 40 solar facilities in North Carolina and maintains about 3,700 megawatts (MW) of solar power on its energy grid in the state, capable of powering about 700,000 homes and businesses at peak output. In 2020 itself, the company connected almost 350 MW of solar power capacity, which included major projects such as the 69-MW Maiden Creek solar facility in Catawba County and the 25-MW Gaston County solar facility in Bessemer City.

Notably, the new 22.6-MW Speedway Solar power plant, once operational, will certainly boost the company’s growth prospects within the region, along with other economic benefits that accompany solar project development.

Adoption of Clean Energy by Utilities

Realizing the need and advantage of the rapid shift toward clean energy, utilities across the board are enhancing their renewable portfolio and reducing fossil fuel dependence at a faster pace.

Notably, Duke Energy aims to achieve significant carbon neutrality and reduce existing carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030, and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Alongside Duke Energy, there are other major utilities across the United States, who also envision expanding clean energy resources and reducing carbon emissions.

For instance, Xcel Energy (XEL - Free Report) aims to achieve an 80% carbon reduction by 2030 and 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.  Likewise, American Electric Power (AEP - Free Report) aims at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050.

Zacks Rank & Price Movement

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.

In a year’s time, shares of the company have increased 14.6% compared with the industry’s 5.3% growth.

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