Exelon Corporation (EXC - Free Report) announced that its subsidiary, Constellation, along with United Renewable Energy LLC have completed a 1.8 megawatt (MW) solar generation project located at Hunter Farms, in Jakin, GA.
This solar project will consist of 5,305 photovoltaic panels fitted in a tracking solar array and operate under a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), with Constellation selling all energy and environmental attributes to Georgia Power.
Constellation is focused on expanding its renewable energy generation in Georgia. It presently owns and operates nearly 17.8 MW solar projects in Georgia. Last year, the company along with United Renewable Energy completed a 1 MW solar project in Georgia, and its entire production had been sold to Georgia Power under a 30-year PPA.
Rising Importance of Renewables
Despite efforts from the new administration to safeguard interest of the coal-fired unit, it is quite clear that demand for coal as an energy source is on the decline, and the void will be filled up by natural gas and renewable sources.
The latest report from U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) indicates that energy consumption from renewable sources will increase 3.8% to 11.431 quadrillion Btu in 2018 and 2.9% to 11.766 quadrillion Btu in 2019. Per the EIA report, production from solar power will also increase 19.9% to 0.928 quadrillion Btu in 2018 and 18% to 1.095 quadrillion Btu in 2019.
Focus on Storage Facilities
Utility space in the United States is evolving and its emphasis on renewable generation is quite evident. Since the renewable sources like solar and wind were not able to produce electricity 24x7 like the conventional fossil or nuclear power plants, it has become essential to develop battery storage facilities.
Battery storage facilities store power produced from renewable sources and supply them to the grid when there is high demand. Battery storage will increase reliability of the entire power distribution operation and lower dependence on fossil-fuel generation.
Exelon has also invested in the new energy storage technology through Volta Energy Technologies. In addition, other large utilities like American Electric Power (AEP - Free Report) and Duke Energy (DUK - Free Report) have also invested to develop energy storage facilities.
Per an EIA release, the United States had 742 MWh of energy in operational large-scale battery capacity at the end of 2017. Given the increasing production from renewables and decreasing cost to install storage facilities, we expect more such facilities to come up in the United States.
In a year’s time, Exelon has returned 10.8% against its industry’s decline of 9.6%.
Zacks Rank & Key Pick
Exelon currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the same space is NRG Energy Inc. (NRG - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
NRG Energy delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 507.93% in the last four quarters. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 has moved up 10.4% to $3.29 per share in the past 90 days.
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