DANBURY — Shares of FuelCell Energy rose 16 percent Friday after state officials approved the Beacon Falls Energy Park.
The park, once constructed, will be the largest of its kind in the world, producing more than 63 megawatts of electricity. Under the plan approved unanimously by the Connecticut Siting Council, CT Energy & Technology will develop the project on eight acres owned by O&G in Beacon Falls. FuelCell Energy (Nasdaq: FCEL) will supply and maintain the fuel cells at the park as part of a long-term service agreement.
Executives with Danbury-based FuelCell Energy have said they expect to receive significant revenue from the project but have declined to offer specific estimates for the work. A similar, but much smaller, project in Bridgeport that supplies about 15 megawatts has produced more than $125 million in revenue for the company from sales and service agreements.
The project will also help ensure job growth, executives have said, as FuelCell moves forward with a phased expansion plan that would double its production capacity to about 200 megawatts annually. State officials have offered the company a $10 million loan to help with the $65 million expansion. Up to half of the loan is forgivable if FuelCell hires an additional 325 workers as part of the expansion. The company already has about 500 employees in the region.
FuelCell Energy’s stock surged more than 20 percent during early trading Friday, before closing at around $6.16 per share.
The stock also rallied earlier this week by more than 10 percent after the company announced a deal to supply Pfizer with a 5.6 megawatt power plant that will provide both heat and electricity to the company’s 160-acre campus in Groton. Pfizer will purchase the power and steam under a 20-year agreement.
“This power-purchase model delivers immediate value while increasing electrical reliability by providing the security of on-site power with a financial structure that avoids an investment in power generation assets; and FuelCell Energy installs, operates and maintains the fuel cell power plants,” Chip Bottone, the president and CEO of FuelCell Energy, said in a statement released earlier this week.
The positive news comes on the heels of the company falling short of expectations last month with its reported fourth-quarter loss of 38 cents per share. Most analysts had expected a loss of around 27 cents per share. The company’s revenues for the quarter, however, were mostly in line with expectations, with about $51.5 million reported for the quarter as compared to $47 million for the same period the previous year.