What happened 

Shares of solar manufacturer SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) jumped as much as 11% on Tuesday as investors continued a bullish run for the company. At 2:10 p.m. EST, shares were still up 10.8% on the day. 

So what

The news for the day was SunPower signing a deal to install 4.6 MW of Helix solar systems at 24 Cajon Valley Union School District sites, which will cover 85% of its energy needs. This will be primarily carports, which are a higher revenue design than rooftop or ground-mounted solar systems.

Solar panels installed on a residential rooftop.

Image source: SunPower.

This is also another sign that SunPower continues to sign contracts that will keep its business moving until the solar market improves in 2018. Commercial installations like this are an area where SunPower's engineering and efficiency advantage can show themselves, so this is a sign the strategy is working as planned. 

Now what

I don't think the move today was associated solely with a fairly small project signing. Instead, investors are gaining more confidence that SunPower will be able to leverage strength in residential and commercial solar to survive the year, and then can leverage its strengths to come out in a better position in the coming years. 

Investors may also be placing their bets that SunPower is positioned to profit from the solar industry's recovery in the second half of 2018. Sometimes, solar stocks can move more than you would expect with a small amount of news, and today is one of those days. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.