U.S. solar manufacturer First Solar today announced its manufacturing operations have not been affected by restrictions imposed by national and state governments to combat the spread of Covid-19 in the locations in which it has production lines.
However, use of the phrase “First Solar’s understanding” of the relevant orders illustrates the ambiguity related to the imposition of such measures in many locations around the globe.
While the Arizona-based manufacturer and project developer was clear in its statement that restrictions on movement imposed in Vietnam would not affect operations at its Ho Chi Minh City production line, it was less categorical about similar measures in Malaysia and the U.S. state of Ohio.
The company said today it understood its manufacturing sites at Perrysburg and Lake Township come under the category of essential businesses and operations which are exempted from the ‘stay at home’ order issued by the Ohio state government on Sunday.
Similarly, First Solar believes its production operation at Kulim in Malaysia is exempted from a widespread ban on public activity.
The U.S. manufacturer said it has taken measures at all of its sites – manufacturing, sales and administrative – to limit the spread of Covid-19.
With a nod to the fast-developing nature of the pandemic and the measures imposed to try and limit it, the company added: “First Solar cautions that the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak, including governmental efforts to contain the spread of the virus, are dynamic and subject to change at any time. This press release reflects information available to First Solar as of 0815hrs (Eastern Time), on March 26, 2020.”
First Solar investors are still reeling from the announcement last month of a surprise $59 million loss in the final three months of last year and the decision of the board to consider selling off the company’s project development business to focus solely on manufacturing. Any hopes the company has of realizing value in its project business are likely to have been scuppered, at least for the time being, by the coronavirus crisis.
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