(Solar sector article updated with analysis of U.S. trade complaint, poll question on the outlook for solar stocks.)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Solar stocks know only one direction, and it's up. Whether it's a solar cell, wafer or solar module maker, the solar rally is living to see at least one more day with the gains on Thursday across many sector stocks. Solar cell leader JA Solar ( JASO) is up 37% in the past month. Chinese solar wafer leader LDK Solar ( LDK) is up 60% in the past month. LDK Chinese wafer making mate ReneSola ( SOL) is up 45% in the past month. The gains by the major module makers are paltry in comparison. A mere 18% gain for Yingli Green Energy ( YGE), and a mere 20% gain for SunPower ( SPWRA). Suntech Power ( STP) has also rallied over the past month. The biggest module maker of all, First Solar ( FSLR) stoked the flames of optimism twice in the past two weeks, first announcing 380 megawatts of orders for Europe in 2011, above and beyond its existing guidance, and on Thursday, announcing that it's expanding its manufacturing capacity by another 500 MW, planning two new plants in the U.S. and Vietnam.
ESLR) and Ascent Solar ( ASTI) are up 88% and 70% respectively in the last month. This week, in particular, the micro-cap solar stocks rallied as a group to a level not seen in some time.
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