...The WilderHill clean energy index - an index of 48 largeBut after a big runup in solar stocks, experts suggest looking at wind and energy efficiency specialists for market-leading performance in 2008, and perhaps a rebound for biofuels, which took a beating last year.
stocks in the renewable energy sector - rose over 58 percent for the year. That compared to an 8 percent gain in 2006 and an anemic 5 percent rise in 2005. U.S.
Here's what the experts say, sector by sector:
Companies that specialize in helping other outfits boost their energy efficiency haven't gotten nearly as much press as their sexier cousins in wind and solar, but experts say cutting demand is just as important as generating new, clean power when it comes to meeting future energy needs.
Companies like Orion (OESX), which manages power demand, Itron (ITRI), which makes so-called "smart" electric meters, or Cree (CREE), which makes super-efficient light emitting diodes, are all on investors' radar screens.
"I think you'll see a lot more of these plays come to market," said Les Satlow, a portfolio manager with Cabot Money Management, a Salem, Mass.-based capital management company.
Satlow also said good plays in renewable energy could include companies that make equipment used to make solar panels, like Applied Materials (AMAT, Fortune 500), or Vecco (VECO), which makes precision equipment used to manufacture microelectronic products.
With all the different types of renewable technologies out there, he likened the race to find the dominant few to a war.
"We don't really know who's going to be the winner, so we prefer to go with the arms dealer," he said....MORE