First Solar has said it will restore idled production lines at its main production plant in Malaysia bringing back 360MW of capacity. The company also said it would add two new lines at its facility in Ohio, providing a further 178MW of nameplate capacity in 2015.
The capacity restoration and two new lines are to meet First Solar PV project construction needs and third party module sales demand in 2015. The changes to the US ITC as well as a number of international markets that are building demand were also cited for need for extra capacity.
However, module production in the third quarter was unchanged with the previous quarter at 449MW, though utilisation rates fell from 80% to 77% in the third quarter.
Management noted in its earnings call that the lower utilisation rates were due to module energy yield enhancement upgrades to lines, which included improved stability of module performance.
First Solar also said it was delaying the major ramp and introduction of its Series 4 CdTe thin-film modules till next year, due to customer orders specifically for its Series 3 modules.
However, its Series 4 modules were said have reached efficiencies of 15.9%, compared to current average production efficiencies of 14.2% and expected 14.4% efficiencies expected in the fourth quarter.
First Solar had previously guided that each CdTe line would reach an average line run rate of 89MW per annum by the end of 2014.