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Personal investing in green-tech stocks: Where to begin?

Here is a list of Web sites and indices to get an individual investor started investing in green-tech stocks.

The green-tech sector is getting hot for stock investments these days, in part because of some very hot recent solar IPOs, such as that of First Solar. As with everything, personal investors need to do their homework. Here's a few places to get started.

I follow three Web sites (and have occasionally written for or been interviewed by each of them) catering to investors in the energy and green-tech sector.

RenewableEnergyStocks.com is a content-rich site run by financial public-relations firm Investor Ideas, a subsidiary of Econ Corporate Services. Since the company is typically paid by the companies, you should be wary of its stock advice, though it is an excellent resource for related content and news.

EnergyTechStocks.com is a new content-rich media site tracking energy technology stocks. Its founders are former reporters of The Wall Street Journal.

AltEnergyStocks features blog-style editorials, interviews and opinions on alternative-energy stocks written by a team that actively plays the market in this sector. It also maintains a paper portfolio. (I am a contributing editor.)

For those interested in benchmarking their favorite stocks, there are now several indices to track a favorite stock against.

The Clean Edge U.S. Index covers five major subsectors: renewable-electricity generation, renewable fuels, energy storage and conversion, energy intelligence, and advanced energy-related materials.

WilderShares has the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index and the WilderHill Clean Energy Index, the latter of which has an exchange-traded fund designed to track it as well.

Finally, the Cleantech Index tracks a basket of leading clean-tech stocks.

I know the folks responsible for organizing most of these indices, and while each group has a different perspective on the sector, they are all serious about the future of next-generation energy investing.

Hope this helps, and as always, caveat emptor.