First Solar beats Q1 revenue expectations


First Solar has reported its earnings for the first quarter to March 31, 2024, exceeding Wall Street consensus expectations on both revenue and earnings per share. The manufacturer of thin-film cadmium telluride solar panels largely maintained its full-year 2024 guidance outlook for earnings.

The company recorded $794.11 million of revenue in the first quarter, beating Wall Street consensus estimates by about 10%. It also delivered an 8.68% surprise over earnings per share estimates, landing at $2.20 for the quarter.

First Solar reiterated its guidance for all of 2024, expecting $4.4 billion to $4.6 billion in net sales and about 15.6 GW to 16.3 GW of shipments. The company lowered its net cash balance expectations by about $300 million to a range of $600 million to $900 million, and expected capital expenditures increased by $100 million to a range of $1.8 billion to $2.0 billion for the year.

“We are pleased with our start to 2024, with good operating performance, selective bookings with a year-to-date ASP (average selling price) over 31 cents per watt excluding adjusters, and solid financial results,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer of First Solar. “Our differentiated technology and balanced business model are enabling us to drive growth, navigate industry volatility and deliver enduring shareholder value.”

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Year-to-date bookings for First Solar totaled 2.7 GW, and the company has an expected sales backlog of more than 78.3 GW. For context, the entire United States cumulatively has installed roughly 180 GW of solar capacity to date.

First Solar has multiple tailwinds supporting its growth, including a new antidumping and countervailing duty investigation that is putting pressure on major competitors that import solar modules. Philip Shen, managing director of Roth Capital Partners, said in an industry note that major crystalline silicon tier-one suppliers of solar panels have increased their pricing at about $0.05/W for antidumping tariffs and an additional $0.02/W for the removal of tariff exemptions for bifacial module. These conditions leave room for First Solar to increase its average sales price, further boosting margins.

The company said in its year-end 2023 earnings report that it plans to double its manufacturing capacity by 2026, suggesting a powerful growth ramp ahead.

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