By now investors have gotten used to waiting a while to get their hands on Chinese solar companies' financials. So as not to keep us in too much suspense, Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL) and Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ) both previewed their fourth-quarter results today.

Last quarter, I noted that Trina was toughing out this difficult market fairly well. The story here continues to be pretty strong. For the fourth quarter, the company indicated that it would beat previous revenue guidance of around $200 million. Even more encouraging was the achievement of a new high-water mark for quarterly operating cash flow, estimated at around $60 million. If Trina can keep this up through 2009, that short-term debt of around $249 million shouldn't be too much of an albatross around its neck. It's a far cry from debt-free GT Solar (NASDAQ:SOLR), but the two are in distinctly different lines of business within the solar space.

Meanwhile, over at Canadian Solar, the news was decidedly mixed. The cell maker and eModule innovator slashed its shipment outlook for 2009, citing customer credit concerns and other macro woes. As for the fourth quarter, cash collection was cheeringly strong, bringing accounts receivable down from a bloated $153 million to the range of $56 million to $64 million. Cash on hand will thus comfortably exceed short-term debt.

This ongoing reliance on short-term bank debt is hardly ideal. I'd like to see more companies follow Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE) and line up longer-term borrowing facilities. We'll have to wait until the companies' March conference calls to hear whether this transition to more secure financing is in the cards.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy agrees that sunshine is the best disinfectant.