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Renewable energy stocks investment guide

Clean and green energy is expected to be the future of energy investment. Producing energy from fossil fuels is outdated and many nations plan to migrate from fossil fuels to methods that are better for the environment, such as wind, water and solar energy.

Find out how this rapidly advancing industry can benefit your investment portfolio as we look at wind, water and solar energy investments. We cover the newest and also the largest renewable energy companies, to provide a holistic picture of the renewable energy investment marketplace. We then look at how you can invest in renewable energy stocks in the share market​ and provide an efficient method to do so on our online trading platform, Next Generation. This information is up to date as of May 2021.

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The rise of renewable energy investment

Being environmentally aware has become mainstream, particularly following the Extinction Rebellion protests and Greta Thunberg's activism. This has led to the environment and climate change movement gaining worldwide traction. Events such as these have been the catalyst for transformation in the way the world stores, distributes and generates power.

By 2050, around 50% of global energy production is expected to come from wind and solar energy. As the public adopt new attitudes and behaviours for a more eco-friendly life, major energy and utility companies are investing heavily in new green initiatives. For example, Shell has spent around $2bn on investment in renewable energy since 2016.

With large companies investing in green initiatives and smaller companies developing new and innovative technologies to drive the industry forward, it's estimated that around $11.5tn will be invested into the renewable energy sector by 2050. Read more about investing in sustainable companies.

The UK generates almost 42% of its electricity from renewables, predominantly split between water energy, wind energy and solar energy. There is also an emphasis on uranium and hydrogen stocks as part of a move to cleaner energy production.

Types of renewable energy

Water energy

Water energy is a means of producing energy from falling or streaming water. Also known as hydroelectric energy, it can be generated in the form of dams, or by ocean currents. In 2021, around 2.4% of the UK’s renewable energy is produced by hydroelectric means. To learn how you can invest in water, check out our water stocks article.

Wind energy

Wind energy involves the use of turbines to provide the mechanical power to run electricity generators. Wind power currently generates half of the UK’s renewable power and this is expected to increase as the UK aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Solar energy

Solar energy harnesses the light and heat from the sun. A number of complex technologies can produce solar energy, such as artificial photosynthesis and molten salt power plants, but perhaps the most recognisable is the solar panel. Solar energy makes up around one third of the UK's renewable power.

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The largest renewable energy companies

As the renewable energy stock sector continues to climb in worth, many mainstream energy providers are starting to invest in the sector. However, there are also several pure plays in the renewable energy sector that could evolve into market leaders. Given these companies’ size and reputations, it's projected they will be large players in the renewable energy sector for years to come. Some of the largest renewable energy stocks are shown below, in no particular order.

NextEra Energy focuses on wind and solar energy. As of May 2021, NextEra is the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy. NEE operates in the United States and Canada and is headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida. The company has around 14,000 employees.

Founded 1984
Share price $71.90
Market cap $143.42bn
P/E ratio 34.65
Revenue $18bn (2020)
Net income $2.92bn (2020)

Tesla is an American electric car manufacturer and renewable energy company. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, it has around 70k employees and specialises in electric vehicles, batteries and solar panels, and it is a popularly traded lithium stock. In terms of renewable energy, Tesla has a subsidiary known as Solar City.

Founded 2003
Share price $576.73
Market cap $555.68bn
P/E ratio 571.12
Revenue $24.58bn (2020)
Net income $-870m (2020)

First Solar is an American manufacturer of solar panels. In 2009, First Solar became the first solar panel manufacturer to reduce the costs associated with producing a solar panel down to $1 per watt of energy production.

Founded 1999
Share price $71.54
Market cap $7.61bn
P/E ratio 14.78
Revenue $2.71bn (2020)
Net income $398m (2020)

How to trade on renewable energy stocks

There are several ways to gain exposure to renewable stocks. These include investing in individual stocks, ETFs that track the performance of several renewable energy stocks, and renewable energy share baskets. Please note that when trading stocks, ETFs or share baskets with us, you will be trading using leverage*. Leveraged trading​ allows you to put up an initial margin or deposit, but it's important to remember that your profits and losses are magnified based on the trade's full value, which results in a greater risk compared with unleveraged trading.

Renewable energy stocks

You can access renewable energy stocks such as Next Era, Tesla and First Solar via our trading platform. Here, you can choose to either go long and ‘buy’ or go short and ‘sell’. By playing both sides on the market, you increase the number of potential trading opportunities as you can trade on markets in both directions. Please note that a live account is needed to trade the share market; all other markets can be traded with a demo account.

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Renewable energy ETFs

Renewable energy ETFs such as the Invesco Solar ETF help to provide exposure to several assets, thus, increasing the diversity of your investment in comparison to trading a single share. Besides increasing asset diversity and helping to contribute to a balanced portfolio, ETFs can also bear lower costs when compared to investing in each asset individually.

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Renewable Energy share basket

Share baskets are mini portfolios of stocks built around a specific theme. We offer, for example, a Renewable Energy share basket. Our traders and market analysts sift through data on popular themes and growing trends in the markets and handpick stocks to give you maximum exposure to those themes with a single position.

Our share baskets are designed by our in-house trading team who have selected shares based on their level of exposure to a particular theme, and their ability to capitalise on the growth projections of that trend. Please see below for the breakdown of our Renewable Energy share basket​. This table can help give you an idea of who the big players are in the renewable energy sector, and our share baskets help provide exposure to all of the below companies under a single instrument.

Company Weighting
First Solar 13.51%
Enphase Energy 11.69%
Maxeon Solar Technologies 7.02%
Hawaiian Electric Industries​ 5.11%
Avista Corp 5.05%
MKS Instruments 5.02%
NorthWestern Corp 4.92%
BWX Technologies 4.88%
NextEra Energy Partners 4.88%
Clearway Energy 4.82%
Renewable Energy Group 4.54%
Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital​ 4.43%
TPI Composites 4.40%
Ormat Technologies 4.15%
Sunrun 3.80%
SunPower 3.49%
Plug Power 3.35%


When trading on or investing in renewable energy stocks, you're exposing yourself to risk. Most data points towards growth in the renewable energy market sector, but it's never known who the market leaders will be when the industry reaches the point of maturity. When investing into renewable energy stocks, it can be best to consider diversified products such as share baskets or ETFs. Find out more about our share baskets​.

Disclaimer: CMC Markets is an execution-only service provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although we are not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, we do not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination.