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Duke Energy (DUK) to Build First Floating Solar Plant in Florida

Duke Energy Corp.’s DUK arm, Duke Energy Florida, recently announced that the company is all set to begin construction of a floating solar array pilot in Polk County, FL, by the end of March 2023. This marks Duke Energy Florida’s entry into floating solar projects, thus embarking on the emerging market that promises huge growth potential.

Details of the Project

The pilot project will have an array of over 1800 floating solar modules with a generation capacity of 1-megawatt (MW). The project will be built on 2 acres of a water body surface. The expected completion time for construction is between five to six months.

With this latest development, Duke Energy Florida takes a step forward in achieving its clean energy goals through innovative technologies. It also opens avenues for the company to expand operations in emerging floating solar technology.

What’s Favoring Duke Energy in Floating Solar Projects?

The switch to renewable sources of energy to curtail climatic effects is building up steam. Nations across the globe are striving to address combat greenhouse gas emission issues through innovative technologies. The requirement to make operations more eco-friendly is leading the way to evolving new methods of generating renewable energy.

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In this context, generating energy through solar projects on water bodies is one of the emerging technology and is gradually gaining momentum across the globe. The benefits of floating solar photovoltaic projects make them an interesting tool for renewable energy generation.

No land usage, environmental aids like reduced evaporation and algae growth and increased efficiency of solar panels due to the cooling effect from water that eventually results in cost savings are some of the factors that must have attracted Duke Energy to scale up its floating solar projects.

Per the projection from Transparency Market Research, the global floating solar market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30% over the 2021-2031 period. This entails scope for substantial expansion for Duke Energy to foray into the floating solar market and develop more projects like the latest one.

Utilities Focus on Floating Solar Projects

Utilities are steadily adopting various technologies to meet their climate goals. Floating solar projects are one such tool that utilities are currently exploring to strengthen their renewable energy portfolio.

In 2020,NextEra Energy’s NEE subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company, announced a 402-panel floating solar installation into the waters of the Blue Lagoon adjacent to the Miami airport.

NextEra boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 sales indicates an improvement of 29.8% from the prior-year reported figure.

Price Movement

In the past year, Duke Energy’s shares have declined 7.5% compared with the industry’s fall of 6.5%.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research


Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

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. Two better-ranked stock in the same industry is VistaraVST and National Grid Transco NGG. Both carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Vistara’s 2023 sales suggests a growth rate of 13.5% from the prior-year reported figure. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Vistara’s 2023 earnings has been revised upwards by 8.1% in the past 60 days.

VST has delivered an average earnings surprise of 43.23% in the trailing four quarters. Shares of Vistara have increased 13.1% in the past year.

National Grid Transco boast a long-term earnings growth rate of 5.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for NGG’s 2023 earnings has revised upwards by 11.6% in the past 60 days.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for NGG’s 2024 earnings has revised upwards by 23.7% in the past 60 days. NGG shares have increased 7.6% in the past six months.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) : Free Stock Analysis Report

National Grid Transco, PLC (NGG) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Vistra Corp. (VST) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research