First Solar Shipped 5.5GW of CdTe Modules

First Solar announced 5.5GW of PV module deliveries in 2020, producing a net income of $2.7 billion. The SMSL member posted sales of US$609.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, down from US$927.6 million the previous quarter.

The company has previously stated that it projected net revenue in the fourth quarter to range between US$540 million and US$790 million. The figure accounts for potential delays in the selling of its Sun Streams 2 plan as well as the timing of module sales acknowledgment, which has been postponed until February 2021.

Balance sheet cash and cash equivalents were $1.79 billion at the end of last year, down 21% year on year. This owes largely to capital expenditures attributable to the company’s transition to Series 6 module manufacturing.

First Solar forecasted gross sales in the region of US$2.85 billion to US$3 billion in 2021. Even so, it anticipates a profit of about US$140 million from the disposal of its O&M company within the first half of this year.

The company has also scheduled 7.2GW of PV module deliveries in 2021, intending to reach 8.7GW of nameplate capability by the end of the year.

Manufacturing cost savings of about 10% were reached in 2020, with comparable amounts expected for 2021. Despite this, silicon-based PV factories are being impacted by polysilicon production shortages which are pushing up ASPs in 2021. Along with capacity limitations in solar glass, ASPs are affecting rival manufacturers’ cost reduction and profit growth as well.

Despite shortages of polysilicon and solar glass production, First Solar achieved the industry’s lowest module degradation rate. The manufacturer claims that its most efficient CdTe solar module line, the Series 6 CuRe panels, has the lowest degradation rate in the PV industry.

The improved reliability of the module, according to the panel manufacturer, was accomplished by its CuRe system, in which copper was replaced with elements from Group V.

In addition, CEO Mark Widmar said that the decent result represents the sales of Sun Streams 2, 4, and 5 scenarios to Longroad Energy. The result also reflects the sale from the US project constructions and maintenance businesses. The module segment revenue growth, which was in line with forecasts, contributes to the outcome as well.

Then again, First Solar’s net profit more than doubled in the first quarter of 2021 as revenues increased, causing the company to positively increase its full-year sales outlook. The solar company reported a net profit of USD 209.7 million in the first quarter, up from USD 115.7 million in the prior quarter and USD 90.7 million a year ago.

Operating revenue was USD 252.3 million, with a share of USD-150.9 million from the sales of products. This figure covers USD 63 million in depreciation and operating expenses, share-based payments, and costs relating to the early ramp-up of a new plant in Malaysia, in addition to asset sales.

Over the reporting period, the US company’s nameplate production capacity increased to 7.9 GW DC. Looking forwards, First Solar boosted its net revenue and gross margin projection ranges for 2020 while maintaining its forecast for other parameters.

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