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First Solar Announces Leadership Transition

April 27, 2016

Mark R. Widmar Appointed Chief Executive Officer Effective July 1, 2016

Jim Hughes to Serve as Advisor and Remain on Board of Directors

TEMPE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) (the "company") today announced that current Chief Financial Officer Mark R. Widmar has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1, 2016. He will also join the First Solar Board of Directors at that time. As part of a transition plan, Mr. Widmar will succeed James A. Hughes, who plans to step down as Chief Executive Officer effective June 30, 2016. Mr. Hughes will continue to support the company in an advisory role and remain on the Board.

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Mark R. Widmar has been named CEO of First Solar, Inc., effective July 1, 2016. (Photo: Business Wir ...

Mark R. Widmar has been named CEO of First Solar, Inc., effective July 1, 2016. (Photo: Business Wire)

Mr. Widmar has served as First Solar's Chief Financial Officer since 2011 and served as First Solar's Chief Accounting Officer from February 2012 through June 2015, overseeing the company's industry best balance sheet and strong financial performance.

"Leadership succession planning has been a joint effort between Jim and the board," said Michael J. Ahearn, First Solar's Chairman of the Board. "As we enter a new phase of growth and development for the company, we believe that Mark's proven leadership and expertise make this an ideal time for him to take the helm. Under Jim's astute guidance, First Solar achieved the strongest technology position in our history, with record bookings of new business and unparalleled financial strength in the industry. We are grateful for Jim's many contributions to First Solar, and we look forward to benefiting from his continued involvement as an advisor and director."

Mr. Widmar said, "I look forward to the opportunity to lead First Solar at this exciting time and build upon the success of the past. I also look forward to continuing to work with our Board, management team and associates to leverage our enhanced technology and operational strength, establish deeper customer intimacy, and to capitalize on industry growth. By utilizing our business model that emphasizes a disciplined and balanced approach to growth, liquidity and profitability, we are confident in our ability to deliver superior results to our shareholders."

Mr. Hughes said, "It has been a great honor to lead First Solar to its position at the forefront of the rapidly growing solar energy industry. I am proud of the significant milestones we accomplished as a team, particularly the achievement of the challenging strategic objectives we laid out in 2013. With its financial, technological and operational strength, First Solar is well-positioned for its next phase of growth. I am confident that now is the right time to hand over the reins to Mark. I am optimistic about First Solar's continued progress and prosperity as the partner of choice for affordable solar power."

The company also announced that Alexander Bradley, First Solar's Vice President, Treasury and Project Finance, has been appointed interim Chief Financial Officer, effective July 1, 2016.

About Mark R. Widmar

Mark R. Widmar joined First Solar in April 2011 as Chief Financial Officer and served as First Solar's Chief Accounting Officer from February 2012 through June 2015. Mr. Widmar also serves as CFO and as a director on the board of 8point3 Energy Partners LP, the joint yieldco formed by First Solar and SunPower Corporation in 2015 to own and operate a portfolio of selected solar generation assets. Prior to joining First Solar, Mr. Widmar served as Chief Financial Officer of GrafTech International Ltd., a leading global manufacturer of advanced carbon and graphite materials, from May 2006 through March 2011, as well as President, Engineered Solutions from January 2011 through March 2011. Prior to joining GrafTech, Mr. Widmar served as Corporate Controller of NCR Inc. from 2005 to 2006, and was a Business Unit Chief Financial Officer for NCR from November 2002 to his appointment as Controller. He also served as a Division Controller at Dell, Inc. from August 2000 to November 2002 prior to joining NCR. Mr. Widmar also held various financial and managerial positions with Lucent Technologies Inc., Allied Signal, Inc., and Bristol Myers/Squibb, Inc. He began his career in 1987 as an accountant with Ernst & Young. Mr. Widmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University.

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company's integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar's renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit

For First Solar Investors

This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include statements, among other things, concerning: effects on our financial statements and guidance resulting from pending tax matters; our business strategy, including anticipated trends and developments in and management plans for our business and the markets in which we operate; future financial results, operating results, revenues, gross margin, operating expenses, products, projected costs (including estimated future module collection and recycling costs), warranties, solar module efficiency and balance of systems cost reduction roadmaps, restructuring, product reliability, investments in unconsolidated affiliates and capital expenditures; our ability to continue to reduce the cost per watt of our solar modules; our ability to reduce the costs to construct PV solar power systems; research and development programs and our ability to improve the conversion efficiency of our solar modules; our ability to expand manufacturing capacity worldwide; sales and marketing initiatives; and competition. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as "estimate," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "plan," "intend," "seek," "believe," "forecast," "foresee," "likely," "may," "should," "goal," "target," "might," "will," "could," "predict," "continue" and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and our projections about future events. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed in Item 1A: "Risk Factors," of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other reports filed with the SEC.

First Solar Media
Steve Krum
+1 602-427-3359
First Solar Investors
Stephen Haymore
+1 602-414-9315

Source: First Solar, Inc.

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