The World's Top Renewable Energy Companies

While policy debates between renewable and non-renewable energy still occur, the world continues to move toward more renewable energies such as solar, wind, and biofuels. In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that 40% of the planet's energy will be renewable by 2040.

From a global warming perspective, this shift away from fossil fuels will be crucial to the world's future viability. These are some of the leading companies creating and providing renewable energy to improve the Earth's environment.

First Solar

First Solar is headquartered in Arizona with offices worldwide that generate renewable energy. It has large solar plants on six continents and even one on the small island of Samoa.

The firm uses photovoltaic (PV) technology to deliver solar energy in a way that leaves the smallest carbon footprint of any method of solar power––half that of conventional solar panels. The "photovoltaic" process is when light is directly converted into electricity.

First Solar's expanded footprint in the United States reflects over $1 billion in investments and created as many as 500 new jobs.

Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar is a global energy provider specializing in solar power. The company has made $3.74 billion in revenue, making it one of the top three solar energy companies in the world.

With manufacturing facilities in Canada, China, Brazil, and Southeast Asia, Canadian Solar has delivered more than 36 gigiwatts (GW) of solar modules to customers worldwide. A GW is equivalent to one billion watts of power most often used for large power plants or power grids.

The company website features a number of successful global projects, with its most recent awarded in the third quarter of 2019 involving three solar PV projects totaling 393.7 mega watt peak (MWp) in Brazil. MWp is a solar power measure used in the PV industry to describe a unit's nominal power, which is the rated capacity or output of PV devices, such as solar cells or panels.

Vestas Wind Systems

Vestas Wind Systems is a renewable power firm that began in 1898. The company is headquartered in Denmark with operations in several countries. A seller of wind turbines, Vestas has the largest market share in the field. As of 2019, Vestas's installed wind capacity was more than 591 GW.

In its 2019 market analysis and forecast, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that renewable power capacity is set to expand by 50% between 2019 and 2024, led by solar PV.

Crop Energies AG

Based in Mannheim, Germany, Crop Energies AG is a leading producer of ethanol and other biofuels, which are "renewable" in the sense that they come from corn (i.e., ethanol) or other plant life, thus referred to as biothenol. Their "clean" degree is not as high as that of wind or solar, as the ethanol is burned by vehicles, but it does burn much more cleanly than fossil fuels.

The company produces bioethanol from renewable raw materials and raw alcohol from wheat, maize, barley or triticale as well as from sugar syrups. With production facilities in Belgium, the United Kingdom, and France, Crop Energies produces 1.3 million cubic meters of bioenergy annually.

Electrobras

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Electrobras is an electric utility company that ranks as the fourth-largest renewable energy company in the world. Its chief form of power is hydropower, which supplies most of its overall output of 43,000 MW.

The company is in the process of expanding its operations across South America, but also in Costa Rica and in the African nations of Angola and Namibia.

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group

Headquartered in Beijing, this versatile power firm is known for the technology in its name, thin film power. This technology is in the realm of solar power: thin-film solar cells are produced by placing ultrathin layers of PV film on plastic or metal.  

Hanergy has been applying this technology to solar panels since 2009. Before that, it was a hydropower company.

Its thin and light panels are very versatile and can be used in different ways such as solar-powered carports. In fact, Hanergy partnered with Tesla Motors to develop PV supercharge stations in several cities in China.

Motech

Motech is the world's largest manufacturer of solar energy. Headquartered in Taiwan City, the company engages in a wide range of research, development, and manufacturing of solar products and services, ranging from PV cells and modules to PV power systems.

The company has won several awards over the past few years, such as the 2019 Taiwan Excellent PV Award-Silicon Photovoltaic Module Qualified Product Model. Its goal is to be a global leader in delivering quality products and services in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry.

Pacific Ethanol

Pacific Ethanol is a leading producer and seller of low-carbon renewable fuels and high-quality alcohol products in the United States. It was founded by Bill Jones, former Secretary of State of California.

The company owns and operates nine production facilities in California, Oregon, Idaho, Illinois, and Nebraska. Together, the plants produce 605 million gallons of ethanol and over one million tons of ethanol co-products annually.

The Bottom Line

The renewable energy field too often has been saddled with skepticism and pessimism, and its growth has slowed in some countries because of unfavorable government policy. However, these companies show how profitable––and sustainable––renewable energy can be in helping to save the planet.