Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) were shining brighter today, climbing as much as 14% following on upgrade from Robert W. Baird.

So what: The investment firm bumped its rating on SunPower from Neutral to Outperform, saying that the solar-panel maker's exposure to Japan gives it an excellent opportunity in a growing market. Analyst Ben Kallo explained that SunPower has a number of partnerships with Japanese companies, and that it has a stronger financial position than many of its competitors, due to support from French energy company Total.

Now what: SunPower hit a new 52-week high on the upgrade, and shares have more than tripled in the past month along with a broad rebound in solar stocks. SunPower is considered the efficiency leader in the industry, meaning its panels generate the most energy for the amount of space they take up. Solar is a risky industry, however, as its still in its infancy and largely dependent on government subsidies. Like car companies in the fledgling automobile industry, it's a safe bet that many solar manufacturers will fold. Still, SunPower looks stronger than most despite borderline profitability. The company will report earnings next Thursday. Analysts are expecting EPS of $0.06. For more on SunPower, check out this article from my colleague Travis Hoium, a SunPower bull.

Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.