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 solar panel maker First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) jumped 10% today as optimism about Europe's finances had the market feeling happy.

So what: This is more than just a volatile stock following the market higher on good news from Europe. Solar manufacturers have pointed to increasing borrowing costs and tighter financing for developers as one of the reasons demand has been sluggish in recent months. This could help ease that pressure, although as soon as we see signs of hope in Europe, they almost always seem to fade away.

Now what: First Solar is still one of the solar leaders despite its stock price tumbling throughout 2011. But considering that feed-in tariffs are being increasingly geared toward rooftop installations, I think SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR) is a better way to play improving trends in Europe. First Solar will see a jump in demand, but the long-term trends still favor more efficient modules.

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