First Solar adjusts 2021 guidance due to freight costs

First Solar is anticipating that its nameplate manufacturing capacity will reach 16GW in 2024. Image: First Solar.

First Solar has lowered its earnings and module shipment guidance for 2021 as the company continues to anticipate elevated shipping costs for the remainder of the year.

The ‘Solar Module Super League’ member cut the upper bound of its full year operating income guidance from US$640 million to US$625 million, while shipments are expected to be between 7.6 – 8GW, representing a 200MW decrease on the low end of its previous guidance range.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

Nonetheless, the company slightly increased its 2021 net sales guidance, which is expected to be in the range of US$2.875 billion – US$3.1 billion.

Challenges such as heightened fuel costs, vessel delays and constrained container availability contributed to lower-than-anticipated shipments in Q2 and higher freight costs, said First Solar CEO Mark Widmar during a conference call with investors.

Meanwhile, while the company has been able to maintain manufacturing operations in Malaysia and Vietnam, the rise of COVID-19 cases and potential restrictions are said to present a risk to production at those sites.  

In a move to limit its exposure to inflated freight costs, Widmar said the company has accommodated some requests for delayed module shipments from its customers.

First Solar’s Q2 net sales were US$629 million, down 2% year-on-year and 22% lower than Q1, when the company was boosted by the sale of a 900MWdc solar project portfolio in Arizona.

Operating income reached US$110 million, up from the US$51 million posted in the same quarter last year, while year-to-date net bookings stood at 9GWdc at the end of Q2 2021.

Coinciding with its results statement, the company revealed plans to build a 3.3GWdc module assembly facility in India that is expected to start commercial operations in the second half of 2023. That capacity expansion is in addition to another planned 3.3GWdc plant in Ohio, where the company has recently started site preparation.

Boosted by these new facilities, First Solar is anticipating that its nameplate manufacturing capacity will double to 16GW in 2024.

Widmar said the momentum that the company has cultivated, paired with an increasingly favourable policy environment, presents a “compelling growth opportunity in the near-to mid-term”.

Conference call transcript from Seeking Alpha.

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.

Read Next

May 24, 2024
Quarterly reports from China’s big-five PV module producers highlight the challenges PV manufacturers face in maintaining profitability.
May 20, 2024
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest US$71 million into specific solar manufacturing projects across the value chain.
May 15, 2024
Tigo Energy has published its financial results for the first quarter of 2024, which include revenues of US$9.8 million.
May 15, 2024
Nextracker's backlog has posted the financial results for Q4 2024 and FY 2024, with backlog increasing by more than 50%.
May 13, 2024
FTC Solar has announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2024, which include revenue of US$12.6 million.
May 13, 2024
In the first quarter of the year, Array Technologies' revenue was only US$153.4 million, down from US$341.6 million in Q4 2023.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
May 29, 2024
11am (EDT) / 5pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
June 4, 2024
London, UK
Upcoming Webinars
June 11, 2024
3:00 PM (BST) / 4:00 PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece