First Solar increases capacity in the USA to 1.9 GW and confirms 2019 guidance

First Solar Inc., the US manufacturer of cadmium telluride thin film modules, has published its figures for the third quarter of 2019 and at the same time announced the commissioning of its new production facility in Lake Township, Ohio. According to the company, the investment for the new factory, which is located not far from the plant in Perrysburg, amounted to around $ 1 billion. This figure also includes $265 million spent by the Pilkington Group, part of the Japanese glass group Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG), on a glass factory in neighboring Troy Township. The factory, for which construction began in April and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2020, will produce TCO (transparent conductive oxide) coated glass for First Solar.
In Lake Township, modules with up to 1.2 GW can be produced annually at full capacity. Together with the 0.7 GW in Perrysburg, First Solar now has 1.9 GW production capacity in the US and has thus overtaken the Korean Hanwha Q Cells Co. Ltd., which operates a production facility for crystalline modules with 1.7 GW capacity in Dalton (Georgia). A good 28 percent of First Solar's total production capacity of around 6.7 GW is now located in the USA, with further locations in Malaysia and Vietnam.
First Solar closed the third quarter with net sales of $546.8 million, 19.1 percent less than the same quarter last year ($676.2 million) and 6.5 percent less than the previous quarter ($585.0 million). The company cited declining sales of solar projects in the U.S. as the main reason, with increased module sales partially offsetting this. Gross profit increased by 7.2 percent to $138.4 million (€124.8 million) compared to the prior-year quarter ($129.1 million). Net income was $30.6 million, 47.1 percent less than in the year-ago quarter ($57.8 million). For the first nine months of 2019, the Company recorded a net loss of $55.5 million, compared to net income of $92.2 million from January to September 2018.
First Solar essentially maintains its guidance for the full year. Net sales will be between $3.5 and $3.7 billion and module sales between 5.4 and 5.6 GW. For its shareholders, the company is forecasting a profit of $2.25 to $2.75 per share.

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