It hasn't been an easy road for solar companies, but it appears that the industry is finally gaining meaningful traction. Leading the way, and landing at #17 in our countdown is SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR). SunPower is a company that has a vision of becoming the leading integrated solar company, and its legwork thus far has been impressive.

With panels that are more efficient than its close rival, First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), SunPower simply needed to begin reducing the price it charged. Now that this is goal is taking shape, the company and its investors appear to have a much longer time horizon. If SunPower continues at this pace, it could be tough to catch.