Solar stocks had a tough year, but Wall Street is sticking by the trade. Here are analysts' top picks

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What a difference a year makes in the energy sector: 2021’s been the best year on record for traditional oil and gas stocks, while 2020 was the worst. For renewable energy stocks, however, the opposite is true.

The Invesco Solar ETF, which tracks the space, is down nearly 27% for 2021. The solar fund knocked it out of the park during 2020 with a gain of 233%, so a pullback is not entirely surprising. But in a year when the S&P 500 is up about 27%, the underperformance is notable.

The group has faced a number of headwinds this year, including policy uncertainty on the federal and state levels, supply chain problems and rising raw material costs.

But Wall Street analysts remain generally bullish on the space, saying this is a long-term opportunity with huge growth potential ahead.