First Solar to add four new production lines: sold out through 2010

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Although quarterly net sales were down US$73.3 million from the previous quarter due to a shift from turnkey system sales to module sales, demand for First Solar’s thin-film modules remains strong and the company is adding a further four production lines with a capacity of 220MW. The location of the new lines will be disclosed as soon as legal procedures have been completed. The plant is expected to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2011. Production for the first quarter reached 322MW, up slightly from 311MW in the previous quarter. Quarterly net sales for the first quarter of 2010 were reported as US$568.0 million. For 2010, First Solar forecasts net sales of between US$2.6 and US$2.7 billion, up from US$2,066.2 million in 2009.

Annualized capacity per line continued to increase as the company is running at full capacity at existing production lines. In the first quarter, each line was able to reach an output of 55.7MW, up from 53.4MW in the previous quarter. This is another new record output level for the company.

Interestingly, the company is shifting module supply to meet demand from distributors and other customers primarily from Germany, and are having to move some utility-scale projects into 2011 to accommodate.

Cost per watt and conversion efficiencies remain flat with the previous quarter.

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