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First Solar sees lower 2020 sales, reviews US project development ops

First Solar-powered PV park in California. Author: U.S. Department of the Interior.

February 21 (Renewables Now) - US thin-film solar module maker First Solar Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR) on Thursday released its forecast for the full 2020 and announced it is “reviewing options” for its US project development business.

The company said in a press release it is working with advisors to consider certain options for the project development business, without providing particular details about its intentions. It noted, however, that the process is still in a preliminary phase and may not lead to any transaction.

“Given the significant evolution of developing utility-scale PV projects in the United States, we believe now is an appropriate time to evaluate our options with respect to our US project development business line,” said CEO Mark Widmar, adding that First Solar is a technology and module manufacturing company, at its core.

The following table gives information about First Solar’s 2020 guidance and 2019 results.

Figures in USD 2020 guidance 2019 result
Net sales 2.7bn - 2.9bn 3.06bn
Gross margin (%) 26% - 27% N/A
Operating expenses 340m - 360m 711m
Operating profit (loss) 360m - 420m (161.8m)
Earnings (loss) per share 3.25 - 3.75 (1.09)
Net cash balance 1.3bn - 1.5bn 1.8bn
Capital expenditures 450m - 550m N/A
Shipments (GW) 5.8 - 6 6.1

First Solar noted that third-party module net sales are expected to comprise about 70% of the total net sales in 2020. The earnings per share (EPC) figure, meanwhile, includes production ramp costs of between USD 5 million (EUR 4.6m) and USD 15 million, production start-up expenses of USD 50 million-60 million related to its Series 6 manufacturing capacity and around USD 30 million in costs for the shutdown of Series 4 production capacity and other severance costs. 

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.927)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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