29 October 2010


First Solar’s sales rise 36% in Q3 to $798m

For third-quarter 2010, First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which manufactures thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, has reported net sales of $797.9m, up 66% on $480.9m a year ago and up 36% on $587.9m last quarter.

Quarter-to quarter growth is due mainly to increased system sales (driven principally by the sale of the 60MW (AC) Sarnia Phase 2 project in Canada), partially offset by a decline in module average selling prices (ASPs) and lower blended euro exchange rates.

Production amounted to a capacity of 350.2MW (an annualized run-rate of 59.6MW per line), up 2% on last quarter’s 344MW (59MW per line) and up 20% on 292.4MW a year ago (53MW per line). Energy conversion efficiency has risen from 11% a year ago and 11.2% last quarter to 11.3%. The total cost per Watt produced has consequently reduced from $0.85 a year ago to $0.77 in Q3.

Net income per fully diluted share was $2.04, up from $1.84 last quarter and $1.79 a year ago.

“We continue to execute on our growth strategy and to develop sustainable markets for solar electricity,” says CEO Rob Gillette. “Our investment in R&D, combined with plans to nearly double our manufacturing capacity, will help us meet robust customer demand while continuing to drive down the cost of solar power,” he adds.

Capital expenditure has increased to $137.6m, up 4% on $133.5m last quarter and more than double $64.8m a year ago. Despite this, cash and marketable securities rose during the quarter from $960.5m to $997m.

First Solar has raised its forecast for full-year 2010 net sales from July’s guidance of $2.5–2.6bn to $2.58–2.61bn (though still down on April’s guidance of $2.6–2.7bn). Guidance for earnings per fully diluted share has been raised from $7.00–7.40 to $7.50–7.65. Also, after in July cutting its forecast for operating cash flow from $725–775m to $575–625m, the firm has raised it slightly to $595–620m. However, the projection for total capital spending has been reduced again, from April’s forecast of $625–650m and July’s forecast of $575–625m to now $550–600m (although this is still about double 2009’s $280m).

See related items:

First Solar revenue grows just 3.5% to $587.9m in Q2

Cd PV maker First Solar’s profit rises in Q1 despite 11% dip in sales

First Solar grows 33% sequentially, but project development hits profits

Search: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe


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