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First Solar signs 2.4 GW deal, reports results from a “challenging” 2020

The thin-film module manufacturer achieved a turnover of $2.7 billion and a profit of $400 million last year. The company also revealed that it is evaluating further U.S. manufacturing expansion, “contingent on the right policy environment.”

From pv magazine USA

US thin-film module manufacturer First Solar reported net sales of $2.7 billion for 2020, a drop from the nearly $3.1 billion it reported a year earlier.

Operating expenses for the year improved from almost $711 million in 2019 to $363 million in 2020.  The 2019 expenses were skewed by a charge related to settling shareholder litigation over alleged stock price manipulation.

Full-year net income was just under $400 million, or $3.73 a share. That compared to a loss of almost $115 million, or $1.09 a share, in 2019.

Net fourth quarter sales were $0.6 billion. That was down $0.3 billion from the prior quarter. The company said the decline stemmed from higher international project sales in the third quarter, which were partially offset by increased module sales in the fourth quarter. The company said its fourth quarter net income per share was $1.08.

Analysts had expected fourth-quarter earnings of $1.24 a share on revenue of $715 million.

First Solar CEO, Mark Widmar, said that the company faced challenges during 2020, including “continued intense competition” across the crystalline PV supply chain as well as “unforeseen challenges related to the pandemic.”

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Orders for 2021 got a boost with word that First Solar will supply up to 2.4 GW of its Series 6 photovoltaic solar modules to Intersect Power. The deal, announced on Friday, is one of the largest orders for the modules to date.

Modules will be deployed to seven projects, with deliveries scheduled for 2022 and 2023. The deal with Intersect Power includes options to add almost 400 MW more capacity, subject to the projects’ final designs. Intersect Power placed a 1.7 GW order for Series 6 modules in 2019.

First Solar said it is forecasting net sales for 2021 of between $2.85 billion to $3.0 billion. That includes $2.45 billion to $2.55 billion of module segment sales. Operating income is forecasted to in the range of $545 million to $640 million. The company also said it expects net income per share to range from $4.05 to $4.75.

First Solar has suggested that it is evaluating further U.S. manufacturing expansion, “contingent on the right policy environment.”

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Source: pv magazine