First Solar, Inc. To Maintain Its Dominance In Solar Industry

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First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) stock has tumbled more than 34% in the last three months. Investors were disappointed by the company’s not-so-good third-quarter results and its non-committal nature towards a YieldCo. However, Seeking Alpha contributor Simple Investment Ideas argues that First Solar is heading in the right direction. The company has a “seasoned management” team to sail through any difficulties.

First Solar has 13.7GWs of potential bookings

So far, the Tempe, Arizona-based company has installed more than 8GW of solar panels across the globe. Simple Investment Ideas notes that the company is fully capable of maintaining its dominance in the solar industry, thanks to its renewed focus on panel efficiency, integrated utilities model and ambitious growth plans. The company largely makes low-efficiency panels.

But it has been focused on improving panel efficiency. Higher efficiency panels reduce installation costs, save space and bring down labor expenditures. First Solar’s panels currently have an efficiency of 14.2%. The company has improved its panel efficiency by 20 basis points since the second-quarter, and aims to achieve an average of 14.4% efficiency by the end of the fourth quarter.  Next year, the company will incorporation its Cd-Te technology, which has the panel efficiency of 15.9%. The company plans to increase panel efficiency to 17.2% by the end of 2017.

During its Analysts Day, First Solar announced several capacity expansion plans to meet the anticipated future demand. First Solar currently has more than 13.7GW of potential bookings from around the world. About 56% of its total bookings are outside North America. The company is positioning itself to become an international leader in years to come.

First Solar

First Solar one of the most profitable solar companies

Further, First Solar has a strong position in the utility-scale solar projects. Its involvement in the utility-scale solar has played a crucial solar in the company’s profitability over the years. First Solar has integrated its utilities business, controlling everything from installation, plant financing to monitoring. Complete integration brings down the logistical costs.

Though low panel efficiency remains a hurdle for the company. It has a huge balance sheet and a strong management team that can overcome this challenge. First Solar shares were down 1.71% to $46.10 at 11:42 AM EST on Monday.

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