The green movement is working wonders for LED lighting expert Cree (NASDAQ:CREE).

Second-quarter sales soared 35% year over year to a record of $199 million, and GAAP earnings more than tripled to $33 million or $0.32 per share. Cree is building out its manufacturing facilities to keep pace with growing demand. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) placed an order to outfit 650 of its more than 4,000 U.S. stores with Cree's LED lighting systems, and the rest of those stores could follow if this limited-testing deployment works out.

And work out it should. LED lights are more expensive than traditional light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, but they also last longer, run cooler, and use far less electric power than those old-school technologies. In the long run, LED lights end up saving you money, and Wal-Mart's gigantic, windowless boxes present the ideal opportunity to realize those savings.

Saving money is always popular, and saving the environment has become a global priority. Since LED lights deliver on both counts, Cree should continue to grow both sales and profits at breakneck speed for years to come. The stock price seems to follow the earnings curve closely, which means that we're looking at a majorly attractive investing opportunity. If you bought Cree shares a year ago, you're sitting on a 280% return today.

Cree is not the only LED lighting maker, and the competition includes multinational giants like Philips (NYSE:PHG) and Siemens (NYSE:SI) subsidiary Osram. Furthermore, traditional lighting faces a new challenge from OLED lighting panels. That option is not yet ready for retail shelves, but companies like Universal Display (NASDAQ:PANL), Samsung, and LG Display (NYSE:LPL) are working on it, sometimes in conjunction with various arms of the U.S. government. General Electric (NYSE:GE) had better position itself further toward the front of the modern lighting bandwagon before its bulbs and tubes become irreparably obsolete.

But the worldwide market for lighting products is a gigantic $94 billion sales opportunity this year. Light bulbs and tubes break all the time, giving consumers and businesses plenty of opportunity to consider switching to something greener, cheaper, and more efficient -- like Cree LEDs. This growth story is far from over.

Did I miss your favorite lighting technology? Use the comments box below to educate us on the benefits of cold-cathode tubes, beeswax candles, or alien gamma ray filters.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Universal Display, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Wal-Mart Stores is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Universal Display is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.