Philip van Doorn

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Sept. 29, 2020, 1:30 p.m. EDT

Here are the clean-energy ETFs and stocks that are soaring in 2020

Twelve ETFs hold more than 270 different companies, including Tesla and Vivint Solar

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By Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch


Bloomberg
Wind turbines manufactured by Siemens AG near Ocotillo, Calif.

During this year’s stock market rocket ride, clean-energy ETFs are finally having their day in the sun.

But there has been disparity in performance, so it’s worthwhile to dig further into individual stocks. A list of clean-energy producers, gleaned from the exchange traded funds, is below.

Last week, MarketWatch’s Debbie Carlson covered three of the best-performing alternative-energy ETFs and talked with analysts about why the sector seems to have turned the corner. That’s after years of painful volatility that burned many investors who couldn’t wait through difficult times.

“Playing” the alternative, clean-energy space can mean focusing on actual generators of sustainable electricity, but it can also mean holding shares of various electrical equipment and component makers, semiconductor manufacturers and traditional industrial and energy companies with a newer focus on sustainability. It can even mean electric vehicle manufacturers. Half of the clean-energy ETFs listed below hold shares of Tesla Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -0.08% .

To help you start your own research into clean-energy ETFs listed on U.S. exchanges, here are a dozen that are traded in the U.S., sorted by assets under management, with various data points provided by FactSet. For comparison, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF /zigman2/quotes/209901640/composite SPY -1.85%  is included at the bottom of the list. There is a lot of data — to see all of it, scroll the table at the bottom, to the right.

Company Ticker Assets ($mil) Expense ratio Date established Total return - 2020 Total return - 3 years Total return - 5 years Total return - 10 years
iShares Global Clean Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/205740995/composite ICLN $1,380 0.46% 6/24/2008 44% 98% 109% 30%
Invesco Solar ETF /zigman2/quotes/210041821/composite TAN $1,250 0.71% 4/15/2008 87% 179% 135% -4%
Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/208932878/composite PBW $658 0.70% 3/3/2005 66% 157% 193% 44%
First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund /zigman2/quotes/205893823/composite QCLN $474 0.60% 2/8/2007 64% 122% 198% 193%
ALPS Clean Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/204291195/composite ACES $359 0.65% 6/29/2018 54% N/A N/A N/A
Invesco Cleantech ETF /zigman2/quotes/204019311/composite PZD $279 0.65% 12/24/2006 13% 41% 121% 155%
First Trust Global Wind Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/202847480/composite FAN $196 0.62% 6/16/2008 17% 38% 94% 107%
VanEck Vectors Low Carbon Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/209443812/composite SMOG $144 0.62% 5/3/2007 36% 79% 118% 91%
Invesco Global Clean Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/202774103/composite PBD $99 0.75% 6/13/2007 45% 72% 113% 74%
First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Smart GRID Infrastructure Index /zigman2/quotes/201178568/composite GRID $54 0.70% 11/17/2009 12% 30% 104% 127%
SPDR S&P Kensho Clean Power ETF /zigman2/quotes/206089699/composite CNRG $52 0.45% 10/22/2018 48% N/A N/A N/A
Global X Funds Global X YieldCo & Renewable Energy Income ETF /zigman2/quotes/208624465/composite YLCO $52 0.65% 5/28/2015 -2% 26% 67% N/A
SPDR S&P 500 ETF /zigman2/quotes/209901640/composite SPY 0.09% 1/22/1993 4% 40% 88% 250%
 Source: FactSet

You can click on the tickers for more about each ETF.

Looking at the annual expense column, the clean-energy ETFs look pricey when compared with SPY. Then again, SPY blindly follows the S&P 500 Index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.86%  on a market-cap-weighted basis, so it may be a lot more simple to run. Take a look at the performance — most of the clean-energy ETFs have soundly beaten the large-cap benchmark index over the past three and five years, but the index has fared much better if you look back 10 years.

Here are brief descriptions of the dozen clean-energy ETFs:

• The iShares Global Clean Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/205740995/composite ICLN -2.08%  has a portfolio of 30 stocks of companies that produce clean energy through solar technology, biofuels, ethanol, geothermal, hydroelectric or wind, as well as companies that develop technology and equipment used in those fields. Its largest holding, according to FactSet, is SunRun Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205021014/composite RUN +0.48% . The portfolio is weighted by market capitalization.

• The Invesco Solar ETF /zigman2/quotes/210041821/composite TAN -2.10%  is concentrated, as its name implies, with “overweight” positions in the U.S. and China, according to FactSet. It is also weighted by market cap. SunRun is the top holding out of 23 stocks.

• FactSet calls the Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/208932878/composite PBW -3.00%  “highly diversified in scope, reaching beyond pure-plays” to include companies in many industries based on their “relevance” to clean energy. The ETF holds 40 stocks. The largest holding is Vivint Solar Inc. , but top holdings also include Tesla.

• The First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund /zigman2/quotes/205893823/composite QCLN -2.42%  holds shares of 43 companies that make materials used by clean-energy producers or used to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, as well as companies involved in renewable energy production, batteries and storage and “energy intelligence.” The ETF’s top holding is Tesla.

• The ALPS Clean Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/204291195/composite ACES -1.89%  is another diversified cap-weighted ETF with 31 holdings, the largest being Tesla.

• The Invesco Cleantech ETF /zigman2/quotes/204019311/composite PZD -2.39%  is equal-weighted, with a global portfolio of 52 stock in various industries connected to clean technologies.

/zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 420.28
-0.35 -0.08%
Volume: 28.24M
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
1,094
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$392.67 billion
Rev. per Employee
$439,627
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/zigman2/quotes/209901640/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 339.39
-6.39 -1.85%
Volume: 91.47M
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205740995/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 19.80
-0.42 -2.08%
Volume: 3.84M
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210041821/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 69.63
-1.49 -2.10%
Volume: 1.84M
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208932878/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 65.67
-2.03 -3.00%
Volume: 387,680
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205893823/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 47.95
-1.19 -2.42%
Volume: 347,635
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204291195/composite
US : U.S.: Cboe BZX
$ 57.04
-1.10 -1.89%
Volume: 105,614
Oct. 26, 2020 3:59p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204019311/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 60.93
-1.49 -2.39%
Volume: 49,488
Oct. 26, 2020 3:52p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202847480/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 18.32
-0.43 -2.29%
Volume: 326,158
Oct. 26, 2020 3:59p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209443812/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 116.69
-2.85 -2.38%
Volume: 9,919
Oct. 26, 2020 3:56p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202774103/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 23.32
-0.64 -2.67%
Volume: 114,846
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201178568/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 66.44
-1.67 -2.45%
Volume: 17,328
Oct. 26, 2020 3:46p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206089699/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 77.44
-1.43 -1.81%
Volume: 49,075
Oct. 26, 2020 3:59p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208624465/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 15.31
-0.21 -1.32%
Volume: 26,439
Oct. 26, 2020 3:45p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209901640/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 339.39
-6.39 -1.85%
Volume: 91.47M
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,400.97
-64.42 -1.86%
Volume: 2.43B
Oct. 26, 2020 5:17p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205740995/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 19.80
-0.42 -2.08%
Volume: 3.84M
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205021014/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 56.30
+0.27 +0.48%
Volume: 5.78M
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$10.99 billion
Rev. per Employee
$172,723
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210041821/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 69.63
-1.49 -2.10%
Volume: 1.84M
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208932878/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 65.67
-2.03 -3.00%
Volume: 387,680
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205893823/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 47.95
-1.19 -2.42%
Volume: 347,635
Oct. 26, 2020 4:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204291195/composite
US : U.S.: Cboe BZX
$ 57.04
-1.10 -1.89%
Volume: 105,614
Oct. 26, 2020 3:59p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204019311/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE Arca
$ 60.93
-1.49 -2.39%
Volume: 49,488
Oct. 26, 2020 3:52p
loading...
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