Which Are The Best Performing Green Investments?

The United Nations Environment Programme is perceived as the voice for the environment in the UN system and according to their publication, the 9th edition of Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015, the last twelve months has witnessed a rebound of green energy investments worldwide with a noticeable rise of 17% from the previous period and total investment noted of $270 billion.

This is in contrast to the dip in investment levels seen over the last couple of years and is in the face of significantly lower crude oil prices. The majority of the investment cash has been directed towards solar and wind energy resources.

China was the biggest recipient of renewable energy investments by some margin in 2014, with just over $83 billion invested, which is close to a 40% surge in investment levels from the previous year.

Another notable feature of the investment report was the rapid expansion of renewables in developing countries, with more than $130 billion invested. When you consider that wind and solar energy along with biomass, geothermal, small hydro and marine power, all combined to contribute an estimated 9% of the world’s electricity generation, there is still a long way to go for renewable energy.

The majority of investment is concentrated on solar and wind energy investments in these two energy sources reached record levels in 2014.

The question for private investors who are looking to try and profit from this industry, which are the best performing green energy investments?

The obvious answer based on the investment figures would be to say that your attention should be concentrated  on solar and wind. If you were to look at the Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) that are concentrated on alternative energy equities, this is how those particular funds fared through 2015 so far based on information provided by ETFdb.com.

Symbol Name Price Change Assets* Avg Vol YTD
FAN ISE Global Wind Energy Index Fund $11.12 -0.63% $42,465.50 14,018 11.25%
PZD Cleantech Portfolio $29.00 -0.03% $71,099.00 3,682 0.86%
ICLN S&P Global Clean Energy Index Fund $9.33 -1.58% $76,545.00 29,152 -2.36%
PBD Global Clean Energy Portfolio $11.02 -1.08% $65,240.00 15,388 -3.85%
GEX Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF $51.58 -1.13% $85,334.70 4,625 -4.45%
NLR Market Vectors Uranium+Nuclear Energy ETF $45.63 -0.72% $42,026.10 1,931 -11.28%
QCLN NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund $14.87 -0.34% $67,050.00 23,632 -13.33%
KWT Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF $56.82 1.36% $17,145.00 1,888 -15.37%
PBW WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio $4.33 -0.46% $105,462.00 84,749 -16.83%
TAN Solar ETF $27.40 -1.05% $307,355.40 173,769 -19.65%
PUW WilderHill Progressive Energy Portfolio $19.55 0.62% $21,406.00 3,109 -25.07%
YLCO YieldCo Index ETF $9.81 0.51% $3,405.50 3,158 N/A

As you can see from the performance table, investing in green energy EDFs for example, have to be viewed as a long term and risky strategy.

Another way you might be able to invest in renewable energy would be to consider a secured bond in wind investment. Details of a 5 year bond that is currently offering investors 12% accumulated compound interest per year over a five year term can be found at alternative-investing.

This is not a recommendation to invest in this particular opportunity and you will need to make your own investment decisions, especially as there are others to consider too, but a bond might at least offer less volatility than an ETF for example, but these investment are not regulated so you will not be compensated if the scheme fails.

There are also some renewable energy mini bonds that have been launched recently and a research source worth looking at is Renewable Energy World.com, to get some more guidance on how the sector might be able to offer you some investment openings.

There is a lot of money being invested in renewable energy but even the best performing investments are proving volatile as market sentiment and government initiatives can have an impact on values, so it would be wise to maybe consider an investment in alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power, as a relatively small part of your total portfolio.

Elizabeth Goldman is the editor of AlternativeInvestmentCoach.com. She has written for Investing.com, Bullbearings.com and many others.