First Solar shipped 5.5GW of CdTe thin film modules in 2020

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First Solar has reported full-year PV module shipments of 5.5GW in 2020. Image: First Solar

In addition to this coverage of First Solar’s results, Mark Osborne has provided a detailed analysis of First Solar’s technology and manufacturing strategy, which is available to PV Tech Premium subscribers here. PV Tech is running an exclusive offer for the month of March, with PV Tech Premium subscriptions available at half price. Simply use the coupon code ‘PREMIUMFIRST50’ at check-out.

‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member First Solar has reported full-year PV module shipments of 5.5GW in 2020, generating net sales of US$2.7 billion.

The SMSL member reported fourth quarter 2020 revenue of US$609.2 million, compared to US$927.6 million in the previous quarter.

First Solar had previously said that it expected net sales to be between US$540 million and US$790 million in Q4, which accounted for potential delays in the sale of its Sun Streams 2 project and module revenue recognition timing, which was indeed delayed until February 2021.

Balance sheet cash and cash equivalents stood at US$1.79 billion at the year’s end, down 21%, year-on-year, primarily to capital expenditure related to its transition to Series 6 module production.

Guidance

First Solar said that it expected 2021 total revenue to be in the range of US$2.85 billion to US$3 billion.

However, First Solar is expected to gain around US$140 million from the closing of the sale of its O&M business in the first half of the year.

The company has also already booked 7.2GW of PV module deliveries in 2021 with plans to reach 8.7GW of nameplate capacity by the end of the year.

First Solar has also already booked 7.2GW of PV module deliveries in 2021

The company achieved around 10% manufacturing cost reductions in 2020 and similar levels planned in 2021. However, silicon-based PV manufacturers are being impacted from polysilicon capacity constraints that are driving ASPs higher in 2021, coupled to constraints in solar glass capacity and therefore ASPs that are also impacting rival manufacturers cost reduction and gross margins.

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April 30, 2021
‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member First Solar has hit a nameplate Series 6 CdTe thin film manufacturing capacity of 7.9GW in the first quarter of 2021, after ramping its second and last converted factory in Malaysia.
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‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member First Solar is undertaking capacity expansions at its two existing manufacturing plants in Ohio, while evaluating several new international locations to grow its global module sales business as initial Series 6 CdTe thin film module expansion plans come to an end, effectively becoming capacity constrained again from 2021, onwards.

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