With earnings reports out of solar shops like Solarfun Power (NASDAQ:SOLF) and Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE) being warmly received by investors, it appears that folks are willing to look past today's crummy results, and toward sunnier days ahead. Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), another vertically integrated Chinese photovoltaics (PV) player, falls into this camp as well.

While I dubbed the firm's fourth-quarter shipment levels abysmal, CSI moved even less product this time around. Revenue wasn't quite as low as what JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO) reported, but at just under $50 million, that's a very light top line. CSI did $171 million in sales during the comparable period last year.

As long as we're talking about revenue, I couldn't help but notice that fourth-quarter European revenue was adjusted downward by $4.2 million, or about 7% lower than initially reported. The change wasn't discussed in CSI's press release, and no analyst asked about it on the conference call. I guess we'll have to wait for the firm's 20-F filing, which is the foreign issuer's version of a 10-K.

In my take on Yingli's results, I attributed the shares' catapult to growing analyst recognition that crystalline silicon (c-Si) PV is becoming more competitive with thin film by the day. First Solar's (NASDAQ:FSLR) loss appears to be Yingli's gain.

While the plunge in polysilicon prices (crystalline PV's key input) has somewhat stolen CSI's thunder when it comes to the company's e-Module offering, the rapidly shifting industry cost structure plays into this company's hands as well. While stocks like CSI and Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL) were deeply oversold back in March, this change in fortune has really thrown fuel on the fire, turning out triples for those bold souls who grabbed shares at the lows.

Unfortunately, for an older vintage of solar investors, CSI still needs to quadruple to retake last year's highs. Perceptions of the shares' performance thus vary wildly, depending on how long someone's been involved with these extraordinarily volatile solar stocks.

Canadian Solar is rated a middle-of-the-road three stars by Motley Fool CAPS participants. Outperform? Underperform? Weigh in with your own appraisal of what lies ahead for the stock right here.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.