In the solar week that was, the Senate's support for renewable energy tax breaks was surely the brightest bit of news. But there's plenty more to report. Let's get right to the roundup.

On Monday, we learned that GT Solar (NASDAQ:SOLR) had completed a major manufacturing expansion, nearly doubling its monthly silicon furnace production capacity. The company didn't run a press release on this, but the trusty New Hampshire Union-Leader got the scoop.

Mighty Moser Baer announced a hefty thin-film contract with German integrator Ralos Vertriebs, the same company that lined up $750 million worth of modules from Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ:ESLR) earlier this year. This contract provides validation for Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT), whose SunFab equipment is producing the panels.

Speaking of thin-film, Sharp dropped this stunner on Wednesday: The company's gunning for 50% market share in thin-film solar by 2012. At that time, Sharp thinks thin-film cells will constitute 40% of global solar demand. I told you to watch out for this sharp elbow to your solar stock. This company is not to be underestimated.

Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) unveiled an aggressive U.S. expansion strategy this week, proving the company's cautionary comments to be a bit of a headfake. Still, the initiatives -- one acquisition and one joint venture -- are geared toward financing and implementation of solar projects, rather than manufacturing. So these moves don't actually run counter to any past statements from the company about reluctance to invest in U.S. production capacity.

Also on Thursday, Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ) announced a phased plant completion, boosting in-house ingot and wafer capacity. A cell plant expansion is also due to be completed later this month. These achievements will help the company move more modules, and meet its full-year guidance. Given the large upgraded metallurgical grade (UMG) silicon deal cut between LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK) and Q-Cells in September, Canadian Solar's UMG moves in particular continue to capture my interest.

Related Foolishness:

Suntech is a Rule Breakers recommendation. See if you take a shine to any of our Foolish newsletter offerings with a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.