Suntech Power shares rose 15.5 percent in recent trading Wednesday after the company reported a 58 percent jump in its second-quarter net income.

The Chinese solar cell and panel maker (NYSE: STP) posted a net income of $65.2 million, or 38 cents per share, on $480.2 million in revenue for the second quarter. A year ago, the company reported a net income of $41.3 million, or 25 cents, on $317.4 million in revenue.

Strong customer demand prompted the company to raise its full-year revenue forecast for 2008 to between $2.05 billion and $2.15 billion from between $1.9 billion and $2.1 billion. Suntech also increased its 2008 shipment expectation to 550 megawatts from 530 megawatts.

The company told analysts that the Italian market could be as lucrative next year as the Spanish market has been this year.

"We believe [Suntech's] comments reinforce our view that strong demand exists in markets outside of Spain and any potential weakness in Spain in '09 should be more than offset by continued strong demand in emerging markets, such as France, South Korea, Czech Republic, Greece and others," Piper Jaffray analyst Jesse Pichel wrote in a research note.

Suntech's solar-cell production reached a capacity of 660 megawatts by the end of the second quarter, and the company said it's scheduled to reach 1 gigawatt of capacity by the end of this year.

The earnings beat analysts' expectations, and investors were clearly pleased with the results. In recent trading, the company's stock shot up $5.75 per share to $42.88 per share.

Analysts already had expected good news form the company before Suntech reported its earnings (see Solar Roundup: Earnings, Expectations and Updates). Two other Chinese solar companies also reported strong earnings this week.

Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) more than doubled its second-quarter net income, the company reported earlier this week. Trina posted a net income of $17.1 million, or 68 cents per share, compared with $7.4 million, or 32 cents per share, from the year-ago period. Trina's shares rose nearly 6 percent to reach $31.36 per share in recent trading Wednesday.

ReneSola (NYSE: SOL), a silicon wafer maker, nearly quadrupled its second-quarter profit to reach $23.3 million, or 38 cents per American depository share, up from $5.9 million, or 12 cents per American depository share, from the year-ago period, the company said Tuesday. Shares of the company, which also raised its sales forecast for the year, grew more than 5 percent in recent trading Wednesday to $18.41 per share.

During the second quarter, Suntech signed a four-year deal with ReneSola to buy about 1.5 gigawatts of silicon wafers, according to Suntech's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The new contract will replace the remaining terms of a previous, 2007 agreement for Suntech to buy 510 megawatts of wafers from 2009 to 2011.

Suntech also agreed to a four-year contract to buy wafers from Glory Silicon in China between 2009 and 2012, but it didn't disclose the wafer amount. Suntech finalized a 18 percent investment in Glory Silicon as well.

In an SEC filing, the company said it finalized its $100 million purchase of a minority stake in Russian silicon supplier Nitol Solar, announced earlier this month (see Funding Roundup: More IPOs for Wind, Solar).