Going Green and Getting Rich Doing It

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REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Ten billionaires have gone green in more ways than one. By using the sustainable marketplace, these 10 crazy-rich folks have turned their environmentally friendly ideas into pocketbook-friendly realities. 

The list of the top-10, as compiled by Forbes (they do enjoy tracking all things greenback over there) breaks down an individual’s wealth based on the billions they have made pedaling green products. Here’s the list:

Christy Walton, U.S., $4.2 billion green/$25.4 billion overall: Getting in on the ground floor of solar helped her late husband, John, ride First Solar to billions.

Aloys Wobben, Germany, $3.3 billion/$3.3 billion: Sure, solar is a big deal, but so is wind power. In 1984 the engineer founded Enercon, a wind turbine maker. Now he has plenty of cash to toss around in all that wind.

Zhu Gonghsan, China, $3 billion/$3.3 billion: Solar seems to be the way to go, as this Chinese head of GCL-Poly Energy oversees the production of polysilicon, a key material in solar panels.

(More on TIME.com: The 2011 TIME 100)

Wang Chuanfu, China, $2 billion/$2.1 billion: Somebody needs to make all those batteries for electric vehicles, and Chuanfu, the chairman of BYD, has his company at the top of its game doing just that.

Rubens Ometto Silveira Mello, Brazil, $1.6 billion/$2.5 billion: Sugarcane is aplenty in Brazil, so Ometto turned his family’s sugarcane mills into an ethanol production power.

Han Junliang, China, $1.4 billion/$1.4 billion: While Forbes reports the Sinovel Wind Group is on the verge of some real issues, Junliang—at least for now—has billions to his name, even if it does all blow away.

Wu Jianlong, HongKong, $1.3 billion/$1.3 billion: Soaking in the rays suits this solar cell maker, chair of Zhejiang Sunflower Light Energy, quite well, thank you.

Adi Godrej, India, $1 billion/$7.7 billion: Who knew eco-tourism could make this kind of money? With 1,750 acres devoted to a marine ecology center, there’s plenty for the visitor to learn about sustainability. And plenty of opportunity to spend money while doing it.

Wei Wenyuan, China, $1 billion/$1 billion: Also a part of the Sinovel Wind Group, Wenyuan risks slipping off this list.

Vinod Khosla, U.S., $200 million/$1.4 billion: With his investments dispersed between about 40 startups that span the sustainable world, Khosla could quickly climb the list of green billionaires.

(More on TIME.com: Khosla making his move)

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