First Solar loses $60m on sale of Mesa facility

11. October 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Investor news, Markets & Trends | By:  Max Hall

The Mesa plant, intended to produce PV modules, never went into production and is being sold off at a loss. The facility includes what First Solar claimed would be Arizona's largest solar rooftop.

First Solar's Mesa facility.

Staff at First Solar's Mesa facility will be relocated 10 miles away to the company's global HQ in Tempe, Arizona.

U.S. thin film manufacturer First Solar is selling off its mothballed module manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona for a loss of US$55 million to $60 million.

The 1.3 million square foot building – planned as a module manufacturing facility – was never put into module production and instead housed the company's network operations center and around 80 operations and maintenance staff who will be relocated 10 miles away to First Solar's headquarters in Tempe at the cost of $5 million to $10 million.

The sale of the facility, agreed last Thursday and revealed in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday, is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The buyer was not revealed in the SEC filing, which predicted the sale will generate more than $100 million for First Solar as well as reducing annual operating expenses by around $10 million.

The filing adds the Mesa building features a 3.3 MW rooftop array – reported by First Solar in December to be a 4.1 MW installation and Arizona's largest solar rooftop – as well as a small ground-mounted PV test array.

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