Shares of solar company SunPower (SPWR -1.01%) jumped an incredible 110.6% in January, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as investors piled into popular solar stocks. Shares have come back to earth slightly in early February, losing 17.1% of their value in the first three days of the month.
Some of the gains were clearly momentum driven, with retail investors drawn to hot stocks and other shares that had a big short interest in January. But there was some important news from SunPower.
In late January, the company announced that its SunPower Residential Installation (SPRI) program has been expanded to six states, testing the waters for what could be an even wider rollout. SPRI is a sales program that gives small businesses and marketing organizations the tools to quickly and easily sell residential solar without having to build the installation part of their business. SunPower effectively takes these leads and connects them with other partners to get the solar equipment installed.
SunPower also announced that it would close its Hillsboro, Oregon, manufacturing plant, which produced P-Series solar panels. The factory may be sold or used as an asset for a future joint venture.
As big as the stock move was for SunPower last month, there weren't any major changes to the company's business. Instead, shares primarily rode a wave of momentum along with other solar energy stocks. I still like SunPower's business long term, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the stock pull back until the company starts to reach some of its growth potential.