- REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo
The explosive growth of renewable energy has shaken up the energy industry over the last decade.
As the costs of solar and wind continue to fall and bottlenecks like storage capacity are diminished, the International Energy Agency predicts that renewable energy will comprise 40% of global power generation by 2040. In the next five years, the share of electricity generated by renewables worldwide is set to grow faster than any other source.
In November, Thomson Reuters released its inaugural Energy 100 list, which evaluates companies in the sector (both traditional and renewable) based on eight criteria, including innovation, environmental impact, social responsibility, and risk management. The top companies go “beyond the balance sheet,” according to the report – in addition to solid financials, they have created advanced sustainability programs, developed groundbreaking technologies, and benefited their surrounding communities.
Thomson Reuters created a sub-list of the top 25 renewable energy companies, which are generally smaller and younger than the energy giants on the main ranking. Eight of those renewables leaders are based in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.
Here are the top 14 renewable energy companies in the world:
1) Canadian Solar Inc is one of the three biggest solar companies in the world by revenue.
- REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Based in Toronto, Canadian Solar has developed a high-efficiency solar panel that the company says is more reliable than competing technology and works in a wider range of temperatures.
Canadian Solar has reduced its amount of carbon dioxide emitted per megawatt of electricity generated by 42% since 2012, according to the company’s most recent Corporate Sustainability Report.
Canadian Solar also has an ongoing initiative to replace kerosene lamps in sub-Saharan Africa with solar-powered lights. The company has donated solar panels to Virunga National Park in Rwanda – a UNESCO World Heritage site, and home to endangered mountain gorillas – to phase out the use of diesel in the park.
2) CropEnergies AG is the leading European manufacturer of sustainably-produced biofuels.
- REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files
CropEnergies, based in Mannheim, Germany, makes fuels out of renewable crops. Such biofuels, like CropEnergies’ bioethanol, emit less carbon dioxide than gasoline or diesel.
CropEnergies had a knockout 2017, increasing revenue by 31%, according to company documents.
3) First Solar Inc is an Arizona-based manufacturer of solar panels.
- Thomson Reuters
First Solar has installations across the globe. The company’s thin-film panels have approximately half the carbon footprint of traditional solar panel installations.
First Solar says its technology emits 89-98% less greenhouse gas compared to traditional methods of electricity generation.
4) GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd is a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of green energy.
- REUTERS/Bobby Yip
GCL-Poly is an industry leader in cogeneration – the process of using a power plant to generate useful heat and electricity at the same time.
The company also works on projects that generate energy by incinerating organic waste.
5) Global Pvq SE is a German-based manufacturer of photovoltaic solar panels.
Global PVQ was formerly known as Q-Cells.
6) Green Plains Inc is a Nebraska-based producer of ethanol.
- REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Green Plains’ ethanol is a high-octane biofuel made from crops like corn and wheat.
The fuel is domestically produced, and the company is working to create green jobs in rural communities.
7) Guodian Technology & Environment Group Corp Ltd is based in Beijing.
- Reuters/Jason Lee
Guodian Technology and Environment Group provides environmental-protection and energy-conservation solutions.
The company’s business is split into two parts: The first provides technology to coal power plants in China that reduces emissions and maximizes energy efficiency. The second – the company’s environmental protection division – offers sulphur oxide control, denitrification, and water treatment technologies.
8) Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd is a Hong-Kong-based solar-panel manufacturer.
- REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Hanergy Thin Film Power Group‘s thin-film panels are flexible and lightweight, making them easy to use in a variety of applications – like on the surface of a solar-powered car or mobile electronics.
9) Inox Wind Ltd is a manufacturer of wind turbines in India.
- Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Inox Wind is the only company based in India to make the list.
The company provides solutions for wind farm projects all over India, according to its website, including site acquisition, wind assessment, and maintenance of the turbines.
10) Jiangsu Akcome Science & Technology Co Ltd manufactures photovoltaic solar panels.
- Thomson Reuters
Jiangsu Akcome Science & Technology is based in Zhangjiagang, and also invests in and operates solar power stations in China.
11) Motech Industries Inc is the fifth-largest manufacturer of solar cells in the world.
- REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
Motech Industries is based in Taiwan.
12) Pacific Ethanol Inc is a California-based producer of ethanol.
- Thomson Reuters
Pacific Ethanol owns refineries across the Midwestern US. It was founded by Bill Jones, California’s former Secretary of State.
13) Renewable Energy Group Inc is an Iowa-based biodiesel manufacturer.
- REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Renewable Energy Group operates a network of refineries in the US and Europe. The company’s fuel emits at least 50% less greenhouse gas emissions compared with traditional diesel, according to its website.
14) Risen Energy Co. is a China-based solar photovoltaic panel company.
- REUTERS/Aly Song
Risen Energy was founded in 1986, and went public in 2010. The company says it’s committed to social responsibility – it donated an off-grid photovoltaic system to a kindergarten in China’s Gansu province in 2015, according to its website.