(WFC) Wells Fargo Invests in Solar Energy

Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) announced that it has financed a 11.3 megawatt (MW) solar power project of Sun Edison, in southern New Mexico near El Paso. SunEdison – a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR) – is a leading solar energy provider.

The power supplied by the project will be sold to the El Paso Electric Co. (EE) under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement. It is expected that the solar farm will produce more than 26 million kilowatt-hours of electricity on an annual basis when all the solar modules will come into action.

This project is part of El Paso Electric’s current policy to increase renewable energy in order to meet its customers’ demand. Since 2011, through project construction and power purchase deals, El Paso Electric’s solar generating capacity stands at roughly 47 MW.

This is not the first time that Wells Fargo is investing in the renewable energy sector. Over the past one year, Wells Fargo has funded five other SunEdison solar projects. In fact, the company’s Energy Investments group is mainly focused on financing renewable energy projects.

Since 2007, Wells Fargo has granted approximately $2.8 billion in equity and around $900 million in debt financing for renewable energy projects across 28 states. Further, over the same period, the company has invested about $1.0 billion in such projects, which involves funding roughly 250 commercial-scale solar PV projects, 6 utility-scale solar PV projects and a utility-scale concentrating solar thermal power plant.

The success of SunEdison projects exhibits the growth of solar industry and indicates Wells Fargo’s assurance to renewable energy and sustainability. Moreover, with the aforementioned deal, SunEdison plans to generate reasonable solar energy solutions in the industry with its experience and large scale deployments.

Such an achievement will boost the dynamics of distributed solar generation, produce a significant source of clean energy and reflects the company’s strong business values.

Similarly, in 2011, Bank of America Corporation (BAC), Prologis and NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG) announced an offer to help the largest distributed rooftop solar generation project in the world. The offer includes a provisional assurance with respect to finance from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office. The loan guarantee facilitated debt of $1.4 billion of the total project size of about $2.6 billion, which will be financed completely by 2015 by the private sector.

We expect continued synergies from Wells Fargo’s diversified operations and strong capital position. With cross-selling as its key strength, the company has a diverse geographic and business mix that enables it to sustain consistent earnings growth.

Wells Fargo currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank a short-term Hold rating. Considering the fundamentals, we also maintain our long-term ‘Neutral’ recommendation on the shares.

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