First Solar sales were US$797.9 million in Q3: module ASPs decline

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

UPDATED: PV industry market leader First Solar reported third-quarter sales of US$797.9 million, a significant increase of second quarterly net sales of US$587.9 million, mainly due to the sale of the 60MW Sarnia Phase 2 utility project in Canada. The company noted that its CdTe thin-film module average selling prices (ASP) declined in the quarter, which impacted revenue figures.

“We continue to execute on our growth strategy and to develop sustainable markets for solar electricity,” commented Rob Gillette, CEO of First Solar. “Our investment in research and development combined with plans to nearly double our manufacturing capacity will help us meet robust customer demand while continuing to drive down the cost of solar power.”

First Solar reported that net income included a one-time tax expense of US$14.7 million, due to the repatriation of US$300 million of earnings from certain of its foreign subsidiaries.

Manufacturing data points

Total MW produced in the third quarter was 350.2MW, up slightly from 344MW in the previous quarter. Production per line was reported as 59.6MW, again a slight increase over the previous quarter, which reached 59MW per line run rate.

Conversion efficiencies inched up again in the quarter, reaching 11.3%, compared to 11.2% in the previous quarter. Manufacturing cost per watt was US$0.77, up from US$0.76 in the second quarter.

Conference call updates (1)

During the conference call, Gillette noted that the rise in production costs was due to module changes to improve cell efficiencies, which impacted yield and equipment uptime in the quarter.

First Solar also increased its guidance for net sales in 2010 to between US$2.58 to US$2.61 billion, compared to the previous guidance range of US$2.5 to US$2.6 billion.

Conference call updates (2)

Gillette also provided expected global and regional PV market expectations in 2010 and beyond. He expects global PV installs to reach 13.5GW in 2010 and 15GW in 2011. However, the German market is expected to decline considerably in 2011, down from an expected 7.2GW this year to 5.9GW in 2011, because of FiT regressions and reviews expected for the EEG and electricity grid.

As Germany has been the main market for First Solar, Gillette expects Germany to be only 25-30% of revenue in 2011, down from approximately 45% of revenue in 2010.

Gillette noted that key growth strategies for the company that would mitigate the fall in expected sales in Germany would include tapping its US project pipeline (2GW) as well as price adjustments to keep sales high and develop other European markets. Continued efforts to reduce LCOE and maximize energy yield of projects would also boost sales in 2011.

Conference call updates (3)

Capital expenditures were US$138 million in the quarter.

Bruce Sohn noted during the Q&A session with financial analysts that the cost per watt increase caused by yield issues and lower manufacturing line utilization as new process enhancements were implemented would come down over time and be in line with the company roadmap. However, his comments suggested that this was not a one quarter hit as he said that “implementation became somewhat challenging,” since these new efficiency enhancements had to be rolled out on the 24 lines that were in full operation.

However, the process improvements would lead to better throughput, higher yields, and conversion efficiencies with lower manufacturing costs.

The company remained soldout in the quarter, according to the First Solar CEO.

Conference call updates (4)

First Solar executives noted that it expects do be able to complete between 500MW and 700MW of utility-scale PV projects in 2011.

Overall concerns about market declines in Germany and potentially in Italy and France were common themes raised by analysts in the call.

Conference call running commentary has now ended. Please look for blog analysis in that section of the PV-Tech website.

10 November 2021
The solar tracker market continues to mature at breakneck speed, with designs and component selections becoming ever-more complex in the pursuit of better project economics. But a more simplistic design could deliver a triple benefit of lower Capex, EPC and Opex costs. This webinar will set out the ideal single axis tracker design for utility-scale solar farms. The design leapfrogs from decades of experience, with a comprehensive understanding and attention to the three cost structures of Capex, EPC and Opx. Sun and Steel Solar has prototyped a single axis tracker designed to deliver up to US$0.03/W in real savings compared to existing single axis trackers on the market. That’s US$30 million for every gigawatt deployed.
15 November 2021
The 10th edition of the famous Metallization and Interconnection Workshop, MIW2021, will take place in the Thor Central venue in Genk, Belgium, on Monday, November 15, and Tuesday, November 16, 2021 as a face-to-face meeting. We are longing for direct exchange of knowledge and ideas after a long time. Hopefully you can be part of it! But of course, the organizors will keep an eye on the evolution of the Covid pandemic. It will be assess carefully, whether the workshop can be held without major risks or excessive restrictions. We are looking forward to exciting talks, discussions and meetings and to welcoming you in Genk!
23 November 2021
The solar, storage and EV industries in the UK are going from strength to strength. There is no better place for the community to meet, share ideas and do business than Solar & Storage Live from 23-25 November at the NEC.There’s something for everyone; more than 150 exhibitors, a high-level conference, a start up and innovation zone, a poster zone, strategic partners to network with and much more. 
24 November 2021
In this webinar we will assess how these technical parameters and land characteristics can make a difference, in order to correctly make the choice between 1P or 2P trackers. There will be a comparison of the behaviour of Soltec’s 1P tracker, SFOne, and its 2P tracker, the SF7.
1 December 2021
Understand fully the technical and logistical supply chains that determine the production and performance of solar modules, including all related factors impacting quality, reliability & bankability. This event will be run online with streamed content, access to session recordings and chat/messaging tools for delegates to connect.
2 December 2021
Intersolar is the world’s leading exhibition & conference series for the solar industry. As part of this event series, Intersolar India in Mumbai is India’s most pioneering exhibition and conference for India’s solar industry. It takes place annually and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. Since 2019, Intersolar India is held under the umbrella of The smarter E India – India’s innovation hub for the new energy world.

Read Next

October 28, 2021
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled in favour of US solar manufacturer Solaria in an initial ruling related to alleged patent infringement by Canadian Solar.
October 28, 2021
A round-up of the latest news from the US solar market, including a new Lightsource bp project in Colorado, CenterPoint’s PV expansion in Indiana and another solar power purchase agreement (PPA) from Facebook.
October 28, 2021
Off-grid, pay-as-you go solar company BBOXX has expanded into Nigeria, the company’s largest market to date, with the aim of providing clean energy access to 20 million people over the next decade
October 28, 2021
US residential solar installer Sunnova is broadening its service offering in areas such as battery storage and electric vehicle charging as it bids to double its customer count over the next two years.
PV Tech Premium
October 28, 2021
With the crucial COP26 summit just days away, PV Tech Premium breaks down the key players and countries for solar to watch at the event
October 27, 2021
More than half of utility-scale solar projects planned for next year could be at risk of delay or cancellation as a result of surging materials and logistics cost, new analysis has claimed.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
November 10, 2021
8am (PST) | 5pm (CET)
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021