Renewables: The Next Booming Investment Class

For the first time, stocks in renewable energy companies are outgaining their oil and gas counterparts—by a lot. Over the last year, solar leaders like First Solar and SolarCity have seen their stocks soar 156 percent and 221 percent, respectively. By contrast, Exxon is up six percent, year over year, while Conoco has risen 15 percent. The CleanTech Index has grown by nearly 60 percent while various crude oil category prices are up between four and nine percent. Spending on photovoltaic projects alone is expected to grow by 45 percent globally this year, to $3.8 billion from $2.7 billion in 2013. Analysts say gains in the sector are being driven by technological innovation, input prices, and capital spending. All signs point to the alternative energy sector as growing into its own as an investment class.

John Howell, Editorial Director