Clean-tech stocks finally have enough muscle to buck a downturn

Water flows from Preferred Pump solar powered pump during the World Agriculture Expo in Tulare, Calif., on Feb. 11, 2020. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Even as the pandemic continues to drive down consumer spending and depress oil prices, investors are spending big on clean-tech companies. Shares are now near record highs, the latest sign that wind and solar are no longer fringe bets.

Electric-carmaker Tesla has grabbed much of the attention with a 255% jump this year. But the stock surge is hitting across clean tech, from solar installers to fuel-cell providers to wind companies. Vivint Solar has tripled and Sunrun Inc. nearly tripled, while Sunnova Energy International and Enphase Energy have doubled. The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index of 87 companies has soared 29% this year, eclipsing the Nasdaq's 22% gain-and hitting highs last seen 12 years ago...

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