At least 40% of the world's power will come from renewable sources by 2040 - here are the companies leading the charge

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Abengoa Solar Power FarmREUTERS/Marcelo del PozoA tower of Abengoa solar plant at "Solucar" solar park is pictured in Sanlucar la Mayor, near the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain November 13, 2015.

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 electricity generated by renewables worldwide is set to grow faster than any other source.

Last week, 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 their 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 list. Eight of them are based in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.

Here are the top 13 renewable energy companies in the world:

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13) Renewable Energy Group Inc is an Iowa-based biodiesel manufacturer.

13) Renewable Energy Group Inc is an Iowa-based biodiesel manufacturer.

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 the company's website.

12) Pacific Ethanol Inc is a California-based producer of ethanol.

12) Pacific Ethanol Inc is a California-based producer of ethanol.

Pacific Ethanol owns refineries across the Midwestern US. It was founded by Bill Jones, California's former Secretary of State.

11) Motech Industries Inc is the fifth-largest manufacturer of solar cells in the world.

11) Motech Industries Inc is the fifth-largest manufacturer of solar cells in the world.

Motech Industries is based in Taiwan.

10) Jiangsu Akcome Science & Technology Co Ltd manufactures photovoltaic solar panels.

10) Jiangsu Akcome Science & Technology Co Ltd manufactures photovoltaic solar panels.

Jiangsu Akcome Science & Technology is based in Zhangjiagang, China, and also invests in and operates solar power stations in China.

9) Inox Wind Ltd is a manufacturer of wind turbines.

9) Inox Wind Ltd is a manufacturer of wind turbines.

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.

8) Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd is a Hong Kong-based solar panel manufacturer.

8) Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd is a Hong Kong-based solar panel manufacturer.

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.

7) Guodian Technology & Environment Group Corp Ltd is based in Beijing.

7) Guodian Technology & Environment Group Corp Ltd is based in Beijing.

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.

6) Green Plains Inc is a Nebraska-based producer of ethanol.

6) Green Plains Inc is a Nebraska-based producer of ethanol.

Green Plains' ethanol is a high-octane fuel made from crops like corn and wheat.

The fuel is domestically produced, and the company is working to create green jobs in rural communities.

5) Global Pvq SE is a German-based manufacturer of photovoltaic solar panels.

5) Global Pvq SE is a German-based manufacturer of photovoltaic solar panels.

Global PVQ was formerly known as Q-Cells.

4) GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd is a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of green energy.

4) GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd is a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of green energy.

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.

3) First Solar Inc is an Arizona-based manufacturer of solar panels.

3) First Solar Inc is an Arizona-based manufacturer of solar panels.

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.

2) CropEnergies AG is the leading European manufacturer of sustainably-produced biofuels.

2) CropEnergies AG is the leading European manufacturer of sustainably-produced biofuels.

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.

1) Canadian Solar Inc is one of the three biggest solar companies in the world by revenue.

1) Canadian Solar Inc is one of the three biggest solar companies in the world by revenue.

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 and 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.

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