Alternative Energy ETFs: Not So ‘Alternative’ Anymore

July 21st at 11:00am by Tom Lydon

Solar, Alternative Energy ETFs Alternative energy and the sector’s related exchange traded funds (ETFs) are at a pivotal point from going “alternative” to becoming commercialized and ready-to-use as a staple source on which the United States can run.

And it’s not just here. The efforts span across borders, in developing nations such as China. R.M. Schneiderman for The NewYork Times reports that the jobs involved in cleantech, such as solar panel production and manufacturing, are local jobs that create work within the community. Keith Johnson for The Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese government will boost subsidies for solar power in a bid to juice the development of about 500 megawatts of solar energy in the next two or three years.

The Chinese focus on renewable energy has focused on wind power, but the push has turned toward solar power. The digression of solar power development is dependent upon government support, so subsidy plans are in the making. As a result, solar ETFs are moving higher today.

On our own turf, alternative energy sources come from sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal energy and produce energy. The U.S. government is strongly supporting the use of renewable energy through legislation and is hoping to eventually commercialize these power sources as mainstream energy for the public’s use, reports Ron DeLegge for ETF Guide.

Thus far, the main roadblocks to the plans are falling natural gas prices and empty credit markets, as the start-up and smaller companies need capital to move forward. The less expensive fossil fuels and oil becomes, the less interest there is in alternative energy power sources.

However, the job creation aspect of renewable power sources is great, but is it enough to support cleantech efforts? Although many of the tasks involved in production can be done by machine, the human labor is actually less expensive.

Just a few of the growing number of ETFs that focus on various aspects of renewable energy:

  • PowerShares Wilderhill Clean Energy Portfolio Fund (PBW): up 14.5% year-to-date

  • Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy (TAN): up 4.2% year-to-date

  • First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy (FAN): up 18.8% year-to-date

For more stories about alternative energy, visit our alternative energy category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.