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Duke Energy to sell its commercial solar and wind farms for $2.8B

Duke Energy's Pflugerville solar farm in Travis County, Texas, is now operating.
Duke Energy
Duke Energy's Pflugerville solar farm in Travis County, Texas, is among the solar and wind farms and battery storage included in the sale.

Duke Energy has reached a deal to sell its unregulated commercial wind and solar business for $2.8 billion.

Charlotte-based Duke Energy's commercial renewables business operates solar and wind farms across the country, selling power to other electric utilities and commercial customers. The division's buyer is Brookfield Renewable, a global renewable energy company.

Duke says the division will remain headquartered in Charlotte, and its 550 employees will join Brookfield.

The deal is expected to net Duke $1.1 billion, which it will use to help pay transition its regulated consumer businesses toward clean energy.

Meanwhile, Duke also said Monday it's making progress toward the sale of a second unregulated unit, which provides rooftop solar for businesses. Both sales are expected to close by the end of the year.

Duke announced last year it was selling the businesses to focus on its regulated utilities in the Carolinas, Florida and the Midwest.

"As one of the country’s largest renewable energy operators, Brookfield has the resources to support the continued growth and success of the Commercial Renewables’ portfolio,” Duke chair and CEO Lynn Good said in a press release. “This sale is an important step in our transition into a purely regulated company with significant grid and clean energy investment plans that will deliver benefits to our customers and stakeholders."

At one time, Duke said the two units could be worth $3 billion to $4 billion. But it has written off about $1.5 billion of that value as it shopped the businesses to potential buyers.

Brookfield is getting 3,400 megawatts of utility-scale solar, wind and battery storage across the U.S. as well as new projects in development.

The deal still needs regulator approvals, including from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.