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Guide to clean energy ETFs


Imagine stepping into the future, a world powered predominantly by renewable energy sources that lead the charge in ensuring a sustainable environment for generations to come. 

This isn't just an idyllic dream; it's an achievable reality that many investors are contributing to by directing their funds towards Clean Energy ETFs. 

These funds are designed specifically to invest in companies that are pioneering renewable energy solutions, ensuring that every dollar you invest resonates with your commitment to a greener planet.

Going into clean energy ETFs is a powerful blend of purpose and profit. In this guide, I offer insights into these funds, focusing on renewable energy pioneers, and bridging the gap between sustainability and financial growth. 

Let’s get started.


Understanding Clean Energy ETF

Green investing is all about putting your money where it can support businesses that truly care about the environment. This includes not only ETFs but also mutual funds and individual stocks.

The main objective is to support businesses that prioritize conservation, alternative energy, and projects enhancing clean air and water.

A significant portion of green ETFs channel their resources towards companies that play an essential role in the research, development, production, and provision of alternative energy sources. 

These aren't just firms that distribute alternative energy but also those that manufacture critical components.

Each green ETF follows specific criteria to determine which assets make the cut. While the overarching theme is environmental responsibility, the specifics can vary, emphasizing the importance of understanding each ETF's unique focus.

Green investing and clean energy ETFs offer investors a pathway to align their financial strategies with their environmental values. 

By committing funds to companies that lead in environmental stewardship, investors can foster a sustainable future while potentially achieving sound financial returns.

Please check out this related article: What are ETFs

Why invest in clean energy ETFs?


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The non-financial benefits of investing are evident. Many investors seek more than just profits; they yearn for their investments to resonate with their personal values and have a positive impact on the world.

It's about ensuring their money not only grows but also helps mold a world in line with their beliefs.

  • Environmental impact: Investing in clean energy ETFs means directly supporting industries that are reducing carbon footprints and promoting sustainable practices. 
  • Economic potential: With governments worldwide setting ambitious green targets and offering incentives for renewable energy, the sector is seeing rapid innovation and expansion. Companies leading the clean energy charge often showcase strong growth trajectories, making them attractive investment options.
  • Diversification benefits: Adding clean energy ETFs to one's portfolio can provide a diversification advantage, especially given the volatile nature of traditional energy markets influenced by geopolitical factors.
  • Long-term demand: The global demand for energy is expected to rise, and clean energy sources will play a crucial role in meeting that demand sustainably. Climate change concerns and environmental regulations are likely to accelerate the transition to renewables.
  • Competitive returns: Historically, certain clean energy ETFs have provided competitive returns compared to broader market indices. As technology improves and scales, there's potential for increased profitability in the sector.
  • Government incentives and support: Many countries offer tax breaks, grants, and subsidies for renewable energy projects. This financial support can boost the profitability of companies in the clean energy sector.
  • Hedge against fossil fuel volatility: Investing in clean energy can act as a hedge against volatility in fossil fuel prices. As the world becomes less dependent on fossil fuels, companies in this sector might face less economic uncertainty.
  • Innovation and technological advancements: The clean energy sector is at the forefront of technological advancements and innovations. This can lead to new business opportunities and revenue streams for companies within the sector.
  • Global transition to low-carbon economy: With the Paris Agreement and other international commitments, countries are focusing on reducing carbon emissions. Investing in clean energy ETFs positions you to benefit from this global shift.


List of best clean energy ETFs

Navigating the evolving landscape of clean energy investments, several ETFs stand out for their performance and focus.

Invesco Solar ETF

Leading the pack in the clean energy sector is the Invesco Solar ETF. This fund, with its expense ratio standing at 0.69%, predominantly invests in solar energy assets.

A key characteristic of this ETF is its specific focus on the solar segment, which means it might not offer the diversification found in ETFs covering multiple energy types. 

Currently, some of its prominent holdings are major players in the solar industry, namely First Solar Inc., Enphase Energy, and SolarEdge Technologies Inc. Investors interested in a concentrated solar energy portfolio might find this ETF particularly appealing.

First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund

Diversification is key for the First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund. Unlike some funds that focus on a single sector, this ETF casts a broader net, pouring investments into an array of clean energy domains. 

From solar to wind power, and extending to the realms of batteries, electric vehicles, and fuel cells, this fund offers a comprehensive green energy portfolio. 

Its objective is to mirror the performance of the NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index. 

Notably, it has garnered an impressive return of 152.14% over the past half-decade, making it a standout option for those eyeing diverse clean energy investments.

VanEck Low Carbon Energy ETF

Dedicated to comprehensive green energy solutions, the VanEck Low Carbon Energy ETF stands out with its broad investment spectrum. 

Aligned with the MVIS Global Low Carbon Energy Index, this ETF weaves together investments in innovative areas - from wind and solar to hydrogen and geothermal energy. 

It also incorporates forward-thinking technologies like batteries, smart grids, and even low-emission construction materials. 

Its commitment to such diversity is reflected in its commendable return of 82.6% in the past five years, making it a choice worth considering for green investors.

iShares Global Clean Energy ETF

Boasting a substantial asset base of almost $5 billion, the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF stands tall as the most substantial fund in its category. 

Maintaining an efficient expense ratio of just 0.40%, the ETF shines with an impressive "AA" ranking from MSCI's ESG assessment, a testament to its commitment towards environmental, social, and governance dimensions. 

Dominating its portfolio at present are leading companies such as First Solar Inc., Enphase Energy Inc., and Iberdrola SA, further solidifying its stance in the clean energy sector.

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ALPS Clean Energy ETF

Targeting outcomes in line with the CIBC Atlas Clean Energy Index (NACEX), the ALPS Clean Energy ETF channels its efforts into mirroring the performance of this benchmark. 

With a commitment to allocating at least 80% of its assets in securities that define the index, this ETF ensures focused investment. Curated by CIBC National Trust Company, the index offers a diversified lens on U.S. and Canadian clean energy players, spotlighting both renewable energies and advanced clean technologies. 

It's noteworthy that the ALPS Clean Energy ETF stands as a non-diversified fund.


What is ESG investing?


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ESG represents Environment, Social, and Governance. Going beyond mere financial outcomes, ESG investing seeks to integrate non-financial motives, reflecting a broader range of concerns that investors might have. Indeed, the spectrum of considerations within ESG is vast and multifaceted.
Environmental aspect 

The environment has long been a prominent pillar in this approach to investing. As environmental awareness has grown, investors have become increasingly concerned about carbon emissions and the broader environmental impact of the businesses they support. 

For decades, there have been funds excluding certain industries seen as particularly harmful to the environment, such as oil and mining. 

The rationale is simple, supporting companies that prioritize the environment helps in creating a sustainable future for all.

It’s impact on social issues

Over time, ESG has expanded to encompass a multitude of social issues. Matters like equity, diversity, and inclusion have gained prominence in recent years. 

These social considerations ensure that companies are not only profitable but also act responsibly towards employees, stakeholders, and the communities they operate in. 

A truly 'social' company will prioritize the well-being of its people and operate with an inclusive, equitable mindset. 

It’s role in Governance

Governance, the third pillar of ESG, delves into the internal workings of companies. It encompasses factors like executive pay, ensuring it's in line with industry standards and the company's performance. 
Additionally, it scrutinizes the diversity of the board of directors, ensuring a balanced representation. 

Finally, governance also keeps companies in check mhl/ck regarding their accounting methodologies, ensuring transparency and accountability.

A significant challenge with ESG investing is its broad definition and the lack of a global standard. The interpretative nature of ESG means that what one person views as unethical might be perfectly acceptable to another. 

This subjectivity, while allowing for flexibility, can sometimes lead to ambiguity.

Despite its challenges, ESG offers a meaningful avenue for investors to align their financial aspirations with their personal values. 

While a perfect alignment might be elusive, the ESG framework enables investors to craft portfolios that resonate more closely with their beliefs. 

By considering ESG factors, investors don't just chase returns; they also ensure their money propels positive change.

Follow up on this related article: A guide on how to start investing for new pandemic investors

Final thoughts

Exploring the world of clean energy ETFs opens doors to incredible potential, both for our environment and for forward-thinking investors. By understanding these ETFs, we grasp their profound impact.

Identifying the best in the market equips us with more informed choices. Adding the dimension of ESG investing highlights the broader vision of sustainable finance. 

As we journey toward a greener tomorrow, intertwining financial aspirations with ethical beliefs becomes paramount.

Eager to be at the forefront of this movement? 

Join, a leading CFD trading platform, and trade with both clarity and prowess. 


“When considering exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant degree of risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be construed to be investment advice.”

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