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First Solar, Inc. Announces First Quarter 2020 Financial Results

May 07, 2020
  • Net sales of $532 million
  • Net income per share of $0.85
  • Cash, restricted cash, and marketable securities of $1.6 billion, net cash of $1.1 billion
  • 1.1 GWDC of bookings since prior earnings call, including 0.7 GWDC of systems bookings
  • Fleet-wide capacity utilization of over 100% during March and April
  • Withdraws previous full-year 2020 financial and operational guidance
  • Issues full-year 2020 module production, operating expenses, and capital expenditure guidance

TEMPE, Ariz., May 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020 and provided an update on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first quarter of 2020, the Company responded to the COVID-19 global health crisis, swiftly implementing measures designed to protect the well-being of its associates and to ensure that its technology is safely manufactured and delivered to its customers.

“In meeting the clean energy needs of the global economy, we will continue to balance our top priority of safety with delivering value to each of our stakeholders,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar.

“We recognize the challenges that our associates and their families are facing in these uncertain times, and are very proud of the dedication, focus, and commitment that we have witnessed from each First Solar associate over the past two months. It is during challenging times like these that our culture of agility, collaboration, and accountability shines through.”

“Despite the uncertain economic environment, demand for our Series 6 product remains strong, as evidenced by the 1.1 GWDC of net-bookings since our prior earnings call. We continue to meet this demand with well-coordinated operational execution from our diverse Series 6 manufacturing footprint in Ohio, Malaysia, and Vietnam.”

Net sales for the first quarter were $532 million, a decrease of $867 million from the prior quarter, primarily due to lower systems revenue from U.S. project sales during the quarter and record module shipments during the fourth quarter of 2019.

The Company reported first quarter net income per share of $0.85, compared to a net loss per share of $(0.56) in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Cash, restricted cash, and marketable securities at the end of the first quarter decreased to $1.6 billion from $2.3 billion at the end of the prior quarter, primarily due to the payment of the class action litigation settlement, Series 6 capital expenditures (which were primarily related to the second Series 6 factory in Malaysia), a decrease in deferred revenue associated with ITC safe harbor module purchase orders, and prepayment for components included in the module bill of materials.

Withdrawing Previous Full-Year 2020 Financial and Operational Guidance

As of the date of this release, the Company and its financial results have not been materially impacted by COVID-19. However, given the significant uncertainty regarding the severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Company’s operations and financial results, as well as on energy and capital markets, the Company is withdrawing its full-year 2020 guidance.

Updated Full-Year 2020 Module Production, Operating Expenses, and Capital Expenditure Guidance

The Company is providing limited guidance that it believes is largely within its control at this time.

  • Module production: 5.9 GWDC, including 5.7 GWDC of Series 6 and 0.2 GWDC of Series 4
  • Operating expenses: $340 to $360 million (including $50 to $60 million of start-up expenses)
  • Capital expenditures: $450 to $550 million

Conference Call Details

First Solar has scheduled a conference call for today, May 7, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. ET to discuss this announcement. A live webcast of this conference call and accompanying materials are available at

Investors are encouraged to listen to the conference call and to review the accompanying materials, which contain more information about First Solar’s first quarter financial results and financial outlook.

An audio replay of the conference call will be available through Thursday, May 14, 2020 and can be accessed by dialing +1 (800) 585-8367 if you are calling from within the United States or +1 (416) 621-4642 if you are calling from outside the United States and entering the replay pass code 1286184. A replay of the webcast will also be available on the Investors section of the Company’s website approximately five hours after the conclusion of the call and remain available for 90 days.

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (“PV”) solar solutions, 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. All statements in this release, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning: net sales, gross margin, operating expenses, operating income, earnings per share, loss per share, net cash balance, capital expenditures, shipments, bookings, production, products and our business and financial objectives for 2020. 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 and therefore speak only as of the date of this release. 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, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. 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 severity and duration of the  COVID-19 pandemic, including its potential impact on our business, results of operations, and financial condition; structural imbalances in global supply and demand for PV solar modules; the market for renewable energy, including solar energy; our competitive position and other key competitive factors; reduction, elimination, or expiration of government subsidies, policies, and support programs for solar energy projects; the impact of public policies, such as tariffs or other trade remedies imposed on solar cells and modules; our ability to execute on our long-term strategic plans; our ability to execute on our solar module technology and cost reduction roadmaps; our ability to improve the wattage of our solar modules; interest rate fluctuations and both our and our customers’ ability to secure financing; the creditworthiness of our off-take counterparties and the ability of our off-take counterparties to fulfill their contractual obligations to us; the ability of our customers and counterparties to perform under their contracts with us; the satisfaction of conditions precedent in our project sales agreements; our ability to attract new customers and to develop and maintain existing customer and supplier relationships; our ability to successfully develop and complete our systems business projects; our ability to convert existing production facilities to support new product lines, such as Series 6 module manufacturing; general economic and business conditions, including those influenced by U.S., international, and geopolitical events; environmental responsibility, including with respect to cadmium telluride (“CdTe”) and other semiconductor materials; claims under our limited warranty obligations; changes in, or the failure to comply with, government regulations and environmental, health, and safety requirements; effects resulting from pending litigation, including the opt-out action against us; future collection and recycling costs for solar modules covered by our module collection and recycling program; our ability to protect our intellectual property; our ability to prevent and/or minimize the impact of cyber-attacks or other breaches of our information systems; our continued investment in research and development; the supply and price of components and raw materials, including CdTe; our ability to attract and retain key executive officers and associates; and the matters discussed under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and our subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, as supplemented by our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described in these reports.


First Solar Investors

First Solar Media


(In thousands, except share data)


  March 31,
  December 31,
Current assets:        
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 929,355     $ 1,352,741  
Marketable securities (amortized cost of $586,628 and allowance for credit losses of $215 at March 31, 2020)   579,340     811,506  
Accounts receivable trade   293,612     476,425  
Less: allowance for credit losses   (3,331 )   (1,386 )
Accounts receivable trade, net   290,281     475,039  
Accounts receivable, unbilled and retainage   122,332     183,473  
Less: allowance for credit losses   (1,223 )    
Accounts receivable, unbilled and retainage, net   121,109     183,473  
Inventories   479,792     443,513  
Balance of systems parts   44,718     53,583  
Project assets   403     3,524  
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   302,845     276,455  
Total current assets   2,747,843     3,599,834  
Property, plant and equipment, net   2,244,175     2,181,149  
PV solar power systems, net   470,709     476,977  
Project assets   388,511     333,596  
Deferred tax assets, net   213,600     130,771  
Restricted marketable securities (amortized cost of $242,156 and allowance for credit losses of $30 at March 31, 2020)   246,410     223,785  
Goodwill   14,462     14,462  
Intangible assets, net   63,918     64,543  
Inventories   182,259     160,646  
Other assets   377,254     329,926  
Total assets   $ 6,949,141     $ 7,515,689  
Current liabilities:        
Accounts payable   $ 173,762     $ 218,081  
Income taxes payable   8,287     17,010  
Accrued expenses   296,796     351,260  
Current portion of long-term debt   81,807     17,510  
Deferred revenue   136,998     323,217  
Accrued litigation   13,000     363,000  
Other current liabilities   21,785     28,130  
Total current liabilities   732,435     1,318,208  
Accrued solar module collection and recycling liability   138,009     137,761  
Long-term debt   390,588     454,187  
Other liabilities   519,487     508,766  
Total liabilities   1,780,519     2,418,922  
Commitments and contingencies        
Stockholders’ equity:        
Common stock, $0.001 par value per share; 500,000,000 shares authorized; 105,905,580 and 105,448,921 shares issued and outstanding at March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively   106     105  
Additional paid-in capital   2,844,055     2,849,376  
Accumulated earnings   2,408,111     2,326,620  
Accumulated other comprehensive loss   (83,650 )   (79,334 )
Total stockholders’ equity   5,168,622     5,096,767  
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity   $ 6,949,141     $ 7,515,689  


(In thousands, except per share amounts)

    Three Months Ended
    March 31,
  December 31,
  March 31,
Net sales   $ 532,124     $ 1,399,377     $ 531,978  
Cost of sales   441,786     1,065,822     531,866  
Gross profit   90,338     333,555     112  
Operating expenses:            
Selling, general and administrative   58,587     55,643     45,352  
Research and development   25,613     25,427     21,877  
Production start-up   4,482     7,351     9,522  
Litigation loss       363,000      
Total operating expenses   88,682     451,421     76,751  
Operating income (loss)   1,656     (117,866 )   (76,639 )
Foreign currency (loss) income, net   (398 )   (816 )   172  
Interest income   9,330     9,663     14,259  
Interest expense, net   (6,789 )   (3,048 )   (10,121 )
Other (expense) income, net   (2,222 )   21,873     3,509  
Income (loss) before taxes and equity in earnings   1,577     (90,194 )   (68,820 )
Income tax benefit   89,215     30,865     1,394  
Equity in earnings, net of tax   (88 )   (79 )   (173 )
Net income (loss)   $ 90,704     $ (59,408 )   $ (67,599 )
Net income (loss) per share:            
Basic   $ 0.86     $ (0.56 )   $ (0.64 )
Diluted   $ 0.85     $ (0.56 )   $ (0.64 )
Weighted-average number of shares used in per share calculations:            
Basic   105,595     105,425     105,046  
Diluted   106,386     105,425     105,046  


Source: First Solar, Inc.

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