Why Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG) Is Electrified with 334% Gains in 2014

Alternative energy company Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG) is on an absolute tear, up 334.19% so far in 2014 and 52.61% over the past five days.

On Tuesday, PLUG shares surged 20% to a fresh 52-week high of $7.02 before finishing the session up 15% to $6.99.

From a year ago today, PLUG stock has risen a meteoric 4,315.41%.

Plug Power is one of a handful of companies in the alternative energy sector on fire in 2014. Specifically, Plug Power provides alternative energy technology that's focused on the design, development, commercialization, and manufacture of fuel cell systems for the industrial off-road (forklift or material handling) market.

Money Morning has featured the microcap company several times since the start of the year. In January, we included PLUG in a look at our 5 stocks to watch under $5.

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Here's a rundown of the events that have Plug Power - and its investors - scoring massive gains to kick off the New Year...

Plug Power (Nasdaq: PLUG) Is 2014's Deal Master

What caught our eye in January was the Latham, N.Y.-company's deal with FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) to develop hydrogen fuel cell extenders for 20 FedEx electric trucks.

Nasdaq: PLUG

News of the deal that day (Jan. 17) sent shares soaring 68% to a 52-week high of $4.90.

Then on Feb. 26, PLUG inked a huge deal with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). The world's largest retailer agreed to purchase 1,738 more of PLUG's signature GenDrive fuel cell units. On top of that, Wal-Mart selected PLUG to supply the requisite hydrogen needed to drive the units and signed a six-year contract.

Wal-Mart had already been using PLUG's hydrogen fuel cells at two refrigerated distribution centers; however, the February order was triple the number Wal-Mart presently had in use, and represents nearly 40% of PLUG's total installed fuel cell bases of roughly 4,500 units.

A Wal-Mart store based in Bentonville, Ark., will use PLUG's GenDrive cells in electric lift trucks to transport products around six North American distribution centers. Installation is set to start in Q2 2014 and will continue over the next two years. The shift to hydrogen fuel cells is Wal-Mart's attempt at getting away from dirtier, less environmentally friendly batteries and fueling options.

Adding to PLUG shares' rise now is increased analyst attention. On Monday, Cowen & Co. boosted its price to $5.50 from $5. The rating change is at least partially responsible for this week's surge, and PLUG has already sailed past that target.

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