Despite concerns that President Donald Trump would present hurdles to the alternative energy industry, related exchange traded funds are performing admirably this year. For example, the First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (NasdaqGS: QCLN) is higher by almost 7% year-to-date.
Contributing to the rapid growth of renewables, the improvement in technologies has drastically cut costs for solar and onshore wind power. The average global generation costs for new onshore wind farms declined by an estimated 30% between 2010 and 2015 while big solar panel costs plunged by two thirds. The IEA projects costs will further drop over the next five years by 15% on average for wind and by 25% for solar power.
QCLN, which turned 10 years old earlier this year, follows the NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index. That benchmark “is a modified market capitalization weighted index designed to track the performance of clean energy companies that are publicly traded in the United States and includes companies engaged in manufacturing, development, distribution and installation of emerging clean-energy technologies including, but not limited to, solar photovoltaics, biofuels and advanced batteries,” according to First Trust.
QCLN’s “index started to breakout from a falling bear market trendline, at 16.80 points. However, after 2 months of a breakout attempt, there is no follow through for now,” reports ETF Daily News. “There is a potential risk with this breakout. More than 7 percent of the index is made up by Tesla, which, since February, has done exceptionally well. So there is a possibility of a false breakout if Tesla, the leader of the index, loses steam.”
Elon Musk’s Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is pivotal to QCLN’s fortunes because it is the ETF’s largest holding. QCLN allocates 9.7% of its weight to Tesla, 200 basis points more than the ETF devotes to its second-largest holding.
“Intuitively, clean energy stocks should be in a raging bull market. If there is one clear trend in this world, it certainly is the “green trend”. Clean energy stocks certainly did very well in 2013 and the first months of 2014, but lost 50 percent of their value in the 2 years that followed. That could be changing now,” according to ETF Daily News.
QCLN has almost $55 million in assets under management.