SolarCity Corp's successful market debut could warm up the chilly environment for stocks of alternative energy companies.

The solar installer had a difficult journey to becoming a public company this week, but the deal is viewed as a success in the beleaguered clean energy technology industry and good news for start-ups hoping to ride its coattails to public offerings next year.

Venture capitalists have poured billions of dollars into solar, smart grid and other energy technology companies over the last few years, with little to show for it. The industry has had only a few IPOs, many of which fared poorly in the weeks and months after their debuts due to a weak global economy, slower-than-expected adoption of new technologies and stiff competition in the solar industry.

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