First Solar expects lower sales in 2020 despite production increase

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The SMSL said that its expected 2020 third party module net sales to account for approximately 70% of the total net sales. Module production in 2019 hit 5,662MW as the company shifts to its large area Series 6 modules. However, module shipments are expected to in a tight range of between 5.8GW to 6.0GW in 2020. Image: First Solar

‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member First Solar has forecasted net sales for 2020 to be in the range of US$2.7 billion to US$2.9 billion, compared to reporting 2019 sales of US$3,063 billion. 

The SMSL said that its expected 2020 third party module net sales to account for approximately 70% of the total net sales. Module production in 2019 hit 5,662MW as the company shifts to its large area Series 6 modules.

However, module shipments are expected to in a tight range of between 5.8GW to 6.0GW in 2020. 

Part of the problem facing First Solar remains its US project development business, which was said to be under review, albeit at a very preliminary stage as potential options to sell the business.
 
“First Solar, at its core, is a technology and module manufacturing company,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “Given the significant evolution of developing utility-scale PV projects in the United States, we believe now is an appropriate time to evaluate our options with respect to our U.S. project development business line.”

As the Series 6 transition continued in 2020, First Solar noted it expected US$5 million to US$15 million of ramp-up costs, while adding US$50 million to US$60 million of plant start-up expense and  US$55 million to US$75 million of ramp-up costs and plant start-up expense impacting operating income, and US$30 million of Series 4 shutdown and other severance costs. 

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