This Week in Solar

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The year has started with a bang for solar stocks. Nearly all solar stocks have jumped considerably since the first of the year with much of that gain coming on Wednesday of this week. Reports of a strong month of December in Germany and stabilizing module prices gave investors enough confidence to jump back into the industry.

But that's not all that's going on in solar this week. Here are some of the other highlights.

CES news
Solar isn't the focal point of CES but there have been some announcements from the industry at the world's biggest electronics show.

  • Energy Conversion Devices launched a solar powered Amazon Kindle cover. The device powers the Kindle along with a reserve battery built into the cover.
  • NRG Energy is showing off the "largest gadget ever" at CES this year, a display of products to make solar power and electric vehicle charging easier. The display highlights NRG's solar installation plans that include financing as well as the company's eVgo network of electric vehicle chargers.
  • One of the big conversation pieces is the Connected Home, a growing number of products that can be monitored from an energy management system. Samsung is one of the companies offering such a system that connects to solar modules a washing machine, refrigerator, or other electrical devices to monitor usage. These types of devices make monitoring solar production more hands-on and even bring real-time electrical prices to the forefront. 

Corporate news
Satcon Technology (Nasdaq: SATC  ) announced a restructuring plan to align its business with market conditions. Product development will now focus on large-scale commercial and utility-scale solar markets in North America and Asia.

Energy Conversion Devices finally paid the interest on its convertible senior notes, a payment that had been deferred in hopes of reorganizing the capital structure of the company. This is a small sign of life for the company, but unless sales pick up soon, I still think this company may be doomed.

Renesola (NYSE: SOL  ) announced management changes with new presidents for its European and Asia Pacific regions. The company has struggled recently as the solar market became more competitive and maybe a shakeup will get the company pointed in the right direction.

In other news
LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK  ) announced financing for two projects in California totaling 8 MW. This is a new move into project installations for the company and is part of a trend of manufacturers vertically integrating into the installation business.

SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR  ) announced its first C7 Tracker installation at Arizona State University. The 1-MW project will be part of the school's goal of installing 20 MW of solar energy by 2014.

GT Advanced Technologies (Nasdaq: GTAT  ) also announced a big deal this week, saying it received an order for $101.3 million of CVD reactors and other equipment. The buyer wasn't named, but it is a large polysilicon supplier the company has worked with before.

Overall, not a bad week for solar companies across the board.

Interested in reading more about solar stocks? Add them to My Watchlist, and My Watchlist will find all of our Foolish analysis on these stock.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns shares of SunPower and has sold puts on SunPower as well. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

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