What you need to know

The renewable-energy industry is the part of the energy industry focusing on new and appropriate renewable energy technologies. Investors worldwide have paid greater attention to this emerging industry in recent years. In many cases, this has translated into rapid renewable energy commercialization and considerable industry expansion. The wind power and solar photovoltaics (PV) industries provide good examples of this.

Renewable energy industries expanded during most of 2008, and by August 2008, there were at least 160 publicly traded renewable energy companies with a market capitalization greater than $100 million. An estimated $120 billion was invested in renewable energy globally in 2008.

During 2006/2007, several renewable energy companies went through high profile initial public offerings (IPOs), resulting in market capitalization near or above $1 billion. These corporations included the solar PV companies First Solar (USA), Trina Solar (USA), Centrosolar (Germany), and Renesola (U.K.), wind power company Iberdrola (Spain), and U.S. biofuels producers VeraSun Energy, Aventine, and Pacific Ethanol.