NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Solar companies seem poised for better performance in 2010. To be honest, for many in the solar sector, the situation could not have gotten much worse than the past year.

Better performance does not connote great, or even good performance, however, when it's relative to what has been a disappointing year, and could even indicate underperformance vs. other forms of alternative energy.

So is the solar sector to be brushed aside in 2010 by the cycling of wind turbines, just as it is sounding bullish comments about its own expected rise?

Last week, the winds of fortune certainly favored wind turbines.

Solar had its usual astronomical one-day pops last week, but they were centered at the smaller end of the market, and in more specialized niches. Akeena Solar ( AKNS) tore through Thursday with a 56% gain after announcing it would be the first solar panel maker to have a do-it-yourself kit available at Lowe's ( LOW). Hoku Scientific ( HOKU) soared 20% on Wednesday after a big boost in its viability when Solarfun Holdings ( SOLF) signed an amended contract, meaning "payday!" for Hoku's uncertain business.

Still, both Hoku and Akeena came back down to earth by the market close on Friday, when Hoku was down more than 5% and Akeena down more than 10%.

The biggest news of the week in alternative energy came courtesy of General Electric ( GE). It may be under financial strain as a financial company, but its wind-turbine affiliate had a watershed win last Thursday, picking up a $1.4 billion contract to supply turbines for a wind farm in Oregon.

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