First Solar Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR) will end production of the TetraSun crystalline silicon solar panel at its plant in Kulim, Malaysia as it wants to free up capacity for production of its Series 5 cadmium-telluride (CdTe) module.
The company said Tuesday it is reallocating production capacity for the Series 5 assembly line, which will be fully operational early next year.
“The Series 5 module, and the Series 6 module still in concept development, are game-changing products that position us for exciting growth. They require the full attention of our manufacturing operations,” said COO Tymen de Jong.
The TetraSun offering, for space constrained rooftops, served as a hedge against CdTe technology competitiveness that had challenged First Solar in the past, Jong added, saying that that hedge is no longer needed. In February the company announced it had achieved a 22.1% conversion efficiency for a CdTe photovoltaic (PV) research cell, a new world record.
Discontinuing the TetraSun product line will result in impairment and related charges of between USD 90 million (EUR 80.7m) and USD 110 million, substantially all of which is expected to be non-cash. The shift in production capacity, meanwhile, will cut First Solar’s operating costs by USD 2 million-4 million in 2016 and USD 8 million-10 million annually going forward.
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