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First Solar, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter & Full Year 2019 Financial Results

February 20, 2020
  • Net sales of $3.1 billion for 2019 and $1.4 billion for the fourth quarter
  • GAAP loss per share of $(1.09) for 2019 and $(0.56) for the fourth quarter
  • Non-GAAP EPS, adjusting for litigation losses, of $1.48 for 2019
  • Cash, restricted cash and marketable securities of $2.3 billion; net cash of $1.8 billion
  • 6.1GWDC of 2019 net bookings; 0.7GWDC of 2020 YTD net bookings

TEMPE, Ariz., Feb. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2019. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $1.4 billion, an increase of $0.9 billion from the prior quarter. The increase was primarily a result of project sales in the United States and increased module shipments.

The Company reported a fourth quarter GAAP loss per share of $(0.56), compared to GAAP earnings per share (“EPS”) of $0.29 in the prior quarter, and full year GAAP loss per share of $(1.09).  On a non-GAAP basis, adjusting for litigation losses and the associated tax effect, the Company reported full year EPS of $1.48.

Cash, restricted cash and marketable securities at the end of the fourth quarter increased to $2.3 billion from $1.6 billion at the end of the prior quarter. The increase was primarily a result of cash received from project sales in the United States, module sales and advance payments received for sales of modules prior to the step down of the investment tax credit in the United States.

“Despite our reported loss, I am pleased with the continued execution of our Series 6 roadmap,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “With ongoing improvements in throughput and efficiency across our fleet, strong demand for Series 6, and our pipeline of contracted shipments as far out as 2023, we are well positioned for the future.”

For a reconciliation of the non-GAAP measure presented above to the most directly comparable measure presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”), see the table below.

First Solar has scheduled a conference call for today, February 20, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. ET to discuss this announcement. A live webcast of this conference call and accompanying materials are available at

An audio replay of the conference call will be available through Thursday, February 27, 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 5717879. 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 solutions 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: the transition to Series 6 module manufacturing in 2020; net sales, gross margin, operating expenses, operating income, earnings per share, loss per share, net cash balance, capital expenditures, shipments, bookings, 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: 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 offtake counterparties and the ability of our offtake 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 Conditions 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.


First Solar Investors

First Solar Media


(In thousands, except share data)

    December 31,
    2019   2018
Current assets:        
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 1,352,741     $ 1,403,562  
Marketable securities   811,506     1,143,704  
Accounts receivable trade, net   475,039     128,282  
Accounts receivable, unbilled and retainage   183,473     458,166  
Inventories   443,513     387,912  
Balance of systems parts   53,583     56,906  
Project assets   3,524     37,930  
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   276,455     243,061  
Total current assets   3,599,834     3,859,523  
Property, plant and equipment, net   2,181,149     1,756,211  
PV solar power systems, net   476,977     308,640  
Project assets   333,596     460,499  
Deferred tax assets, net   130,771     77,682  
Restricted cash and investments   303,857     318,390  
Goodwill   14,462     14,462  
Intangible assets, net   64,543     74,162  
Inventories   160,646     130,083  
Notes receivable, affiliate       22,832  
Other assets   249,854     98,878  
Total assets   $ 7,515,689     $ 7,121,362  
Current liabilities:        
Accounts payable   $ 218,081     $ 233,287  
Income taxes payable   17,010     20,885  
Accrued expenses   351,260     441,580  
Current portion of long-term debt   17,510     5,570  
Deferred revenue   323,217     129,755  
Accrued litigation   363,000      
Other current liabilities   28,130     14,380  
Total current liabilities   1,318,208     845,457  
Accrued solar module collection and recycling liability   137,761     134,442  
Long-term debt   454,187     461,221  
Other liabilities   508,766     467,839  
Total liabilities   2,418,922     1,908,959  
Commitments and contingencies        
Stockholders’ equity:        
Common stock, $0.001 par value per share; 500,000,000 shares authorized; 105,448,921 and 104,885,261 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively   105     105  
Additional paid-in capital   2,849,376     2,825,211  
Accumulated earnings   2,326,620     2,441,553  
Accumulated other comprehensive loss   (79,334 )   (54,466 )
Total stockholders’ equity   5,096,767     5,212,403  
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity   $ 7,515,689     $ 7,121,362  


(In thousands, except per share amounts)

    Three Months Ended   Year Ended
    December 31,
  September 30,
  December 31,
  December 31,
  December 31,
Net sales   $ 1,399,377     $ 546,806     $ 691,241     $ 3,063,117     $ 2,244,044  
Cost of sales   1,065,822     408,443     592,931     2,513,905     1,851,867  
Gross profit   333,555     138,363     98,310     549,212     392,177  
Operating expenses:                    
Selling, general and administrative   55,643     53,542     51,338     205,471     176,857  
Research and development   25,427     24,912     21,388     96,611     84,472  
Production start-up   7,351     18,605     14,576     45,915     90,735  
Litigation loss   363,000             363,000      
Total operating expenses   451,421     97,059     87,302     710,997     352,064  
Operating (loss) income   (117,866 )   41,304     11,008     (161,785 )   40,113  
Foreign currency (loss) income, net   (816 )   1,209     1,908     2,291     (570 )
Interest income   9,663     11,454     14,643     48,886     59,788  
Interest expense, net   (3,048 )   (4,976 )   (11,476 )   (27,066 )   (25,921 )
Other income (expense), net   21,873     (3,399 )   32,102     17,545     39,737  
(Loss) income before taxes and equity in earnings   (90,194 )   45,592     48,185     (120,129 )   113,147  
Income tax benefit (expense)   30,865     (15,035 )   4,416     5,480     (3,441 )
Equity in earnings, net of tax   (79 )   65     (485 )   (284 )   34,620  
Net (loss) income   $ (59,408 )   $ 30,622     $ 52,116     $ (114,933 )   $ 144,326  
Net (loss) income per share:                    
Basic   $ (0.56 )   $ 0.29     $ 0.50     $ (1.09 )   $ 1.38  
Diluted   $ (0.56 )   $ 0.29     $ 0.49     $ (1.09 )   $ 1.36  
Weighted-average number of shares used in per share calculations:                    
Basic   105,425     105,397     104,845     105,310     104,745  
Diluted   105,425     106,227     105,819     105,310     106,113  


Non-GAAP Financial Measure

In this release, we provide non-GAAP earnings per share for the year ended December 31, 2019. We have included this non-GAAP financial measure to adjust for losses associated with our class action and opt-out legal proceedings and the associated tax effects. We believe non-GAAP earnings per share, when taken together with the corresponding GAAP financial measure, is relevant and useful information to our investors because it provides them with additional information in assessing our financial operating results independent of the litigation loss described below. Our management uses this non-GAAP financial measure in evaluating our operating performance. However, this measure has limitations, including that it excludes the effect of the $350 million that, subject to court approval, we will pay in cash pursuant to the class action settlement and the amount of costs that we may ultimately have to pay in cash to resolve the opt-out action.  As of December 31, 2019, we accrued $13 million of estimated losses for the opt-out action, which represents our best estimate of the lower bound of the costs to resolve this case. The ultimate amount of loss may be materially higher. Accordingly, this non-GAAP financial measure should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for, or superior to earnings per share prepared in accordance with GAAP. The following is the reconciliation of earnings per share prepared in accordance with GAAP to non-GAAP earnings per share for the year ended December 31, 2019 (in millions, except per share amounts):

    Year Ended
December 31, 2019
Net loss   $ (114.9 )
Litigation loss   363.0  
Tax effect of litigation loss   (90.9 )
Non-GAAP net income   $ 157.2  
Weighted-average number of shares used for diluted earnings per share   105.3  
GAAP loss per share   $ (1.09 )
Weighted-average number of shares used for diluted earnings per share

Non-GAAP earnings per share   $ 1.48  


Source: First Solar, Inc.

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