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 China-based solar power generalist LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK) passed behind a dark cloud this morning, falling as much as 10% on moderate volume.

So what: Investors backed off all of the Chinese solar experts today on news that JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS) has been leaking toxic chemicals around a manufacturing facility in Zhejiang. If one manufacturer can slip hazardous waste into the river, what's stopping the rest of them from similar offenses? Being the actual offender, Jinko shares are down more than 20% while Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) slipped 11.5% at worst and Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) dipped to 11.4% lows.

Now what: LDK has bounced back to a much less terrifying 5.8% drop as of this writing, helped by the announcement of a $26 million secondary stock offering. The placement fixes a debt covenant that was broken by a $110 million share repurchase program, so it's good news for LDK's long-term financing relationships and general health.

Solar stocks should be on fire these days, what with peak oil concerns and global warming worries boosting alternative energy investments worldwide. But it's a nascent industry with pricing problems and often immature technology still looking for some crucial efficiency breakthroughs. Patient investors could do very well by buying into solar stocks at these levels, but don't expect any miraculous overnight riches.

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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.