Solar investing has been a highly contended subject for many years now. Some feel that it is a strong allocation for a long-term portfolio as the growth in the alternative energy world offers some enticing opportunities. Others need only point to the historically abysmal returns of the majority of these securities to justify their reasoning for avoidance. For those who do feel that solar is a good long term play, or are at least interested in researching further into this energy source, we outline the five biggest solar companies by market cap [for more solar news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
After enduring a miserable 2010, most investors were pleased to see solar hit the ground running this year, as a number of equities tied to this industry enjoyed double digit gains for several months. But as the year progressed, solar stocks quickly began to reverse their winning ways, dragging them even lower than where many had been at last year. These extreme losses come as a thorn in investors’ side, especially given that solar energy is arguably the fastest growing renewable energy in the world. Last year saw the overall industry grow by nearly 73%, leading to an average annual growth of 39% over the last decade [see also Company Spotlight: First Solar (FSLR)].