First Solar, Inc. Posts Huge Loss, Announces Caterpillar Inc. Alliance

First Solar released the earnings results from its first fiscal quarter tonight after closing bell, posting losses of 62 cents per share on net sales of $469 million. Analysts had been looking for losses of 29 cents per share on $599.47 million in revenue. In the same quarter a year ago, the solar panel manufacturer reported earnings of $1.89 per share on $950 million in revenue.

Key metrics from First Solar’s earnings report

First Solar said the decline in net sales was the result of retaining projects that otherwise would have brought revenue as plans for the YieldCo move forward. The company also said delays on several projects during the first quarter and a higher mix of sales of modules only and the sale of the SolarGen 2 project contributed to the decline in sales.

The company said it had about $1.5 billion in cash and marketable securities at the end of the quarter, a year over year decline of about $507 million due to preparations for the launch of the YieldCo.  For the second quarter, First Solar expects net sales of between $750 million and $850 million and earnings of between 45 cents and 55 cents per share.

First Solar shares halted temporarily

Along with tonight’s earnings report, trading on First Solar stock was halted temporarily for the release of news. The solar panel company announced a “strategic alliance to develop an integrated photovoltaic (PV) solar solution for microgrid applications.”

Under the terms of the agreement, First Solar will design and manufacture a package for microgrid applications, which will feature solar panels with the Caterpillar brand that are manufactured by First Solar. Caterpillar will sell the package exclusively.

“This strategic alliance provides yet more evidence of a global energy transition, where solar energy’s reliability and cost competitiveness with traditional fuels effectively allows it to complement conventional generation,” First Solar Global Marketing Vice President Marc van Gerven said in a statement. “It is also evidence of the role that solar can play in enabling the local generation and distribution of energy to address specific needs.”

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About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at [email protected]

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