First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) is expanding in Malaysia and the United States, where it is reviving 360 MW worth of idle production and adding two lines in Ohio for a further 100 MW nameplate capacity, according to a report from PV-Tech.
More capacity needed to meet growing demand
First Solar is encouraged by the success of its Series 3 module, which was on the backdrop of the company’s decision to delay the launch of its series 4 CdTe thin film modules until next year. The report by PV ztech read, “The capacity restoration and two new lines are to meet First Solar PV project construction needs and third party module sales demand in 2015.” It also states that the changes to the U.S. ITC [input tax credit] and in other international markets are contributing to the demand, which further increases the need for extra capacity.
Module rates in the third quarter were flat at 449 MW, even though utilization rates dropped from 80% to 77% on the back of energy yield enhancement upgrades to lines, according to the website.
First Solar not creating YieldCo
The company’s shares tumbled by around 9% Friday in the aftermath of weak earnings. The company’s sdjusted earnings came in at 61 cents per share, and revenue was posted at $889 million, a drop from $1.26 billion in the previous year.
Investors also grew more cautious over comments made by First Solar CEO Jim Hughes, who said that they have no plans to file a registration for a YieldCo, a separate wing that will look after First Solar’s installed solar projects and pay out a majority of its cash flow in the form of dividends. Hughes also said that the company will continue to build up its assets in the United States and other selected markets, along with taking either full or partial control over such assets. According to Hughes, First Solar will keep on assessing options for the capitalization and governance of such assets.
During the earnings call, the company revised down its 2014 revenue outlook to between $3.6 billion and $3.9 billion from between $3.7 billion and $4 billion previously and maintained its earnings per share guidance of between $2.40 and $2.80. Year to date, shares of the solar company are down by around 7%.