Even as the pandemic continues to drive down consumer spending and depress oil prices, investors are spending big on clean-tech companies. Shares are now at or near record highs, the latest sign that wind and solar are no longer fringe bets.
Electric-carmaker Tesla Inc. has grabbed much of the attention with a 251% jump this year. But the stock surge is hitting across clean tech, from solar installers to fuel-cell providers to wind companies. Vivint Solar Inc. has tripled, and Sunrun Inc. nearly tripled. SolarEdge Technologies Inc. soared as much as 21% Tuesday to a record high. And the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index of 87 companies has soared 31% this year, eclipsing the Nasdaq’s 21% gain–and hitting highs last seen 12 years ago.
It’s a remarkable swing from the last big economic slump, in 2008, when investors fled a renewables industry that was then almost completely reliant on government subsidies—and viewed by many as science experiments. Now, solar and wind are cheap and established and desired by utilities and alike. Trillions of public and private dollars are expected to be poured into clean-energy projects over the next decade. And while some green sectors are still burdened with an up-and-down history, even energy investors burned by the oil rout are looking at clean tech. Gas and oil stocks are down some 40% this year.
“I’ve never had more phone call requests from people who want to get educated,” said Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co. who’s covered clean energy for 15 years.