First Solar Posts Surprising 1st Quarter Earnings, Beats Expectations, Upgrades Guidance

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US-based solar PV manufacturer First Solar, after a dismal fourth quarter and full-year 2016 financial report, surprised everyone last week when it posted a strong first quarter which beat expectations and allowed the company to upgrade its guidance for the full year 2017.

First Solar posted net sales for the first quarter of $892 million, a hefty increase of $561 million over the previous quarter, primarily due to the sale of the company’s Moapa project, though this figure was itself partially offset by lower third-party module sales. According to a Seeking Alpha analyst, this beat estimated revenue by 5.1% and beat earnings by $0.38 per share. The company’s earnings per share were $0.09, compared to a loss in the fourth quarter of 2016 of $7.22 per share.

“Our first quarter results and the sale of our Moapa project are a solid start to 2017,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, obviously aiming for understatement. “The transition to our Series 6 product continues to progress from both a technology and commercial standpoint. We are excited about the competitive position of Series 6 and the long-term opportunities it enables.”

First Solar was also therefore able to raise its guidance for the full year 2017. After its dismal returns in its last report, this is good news for investors who rallied on the first quarter’s surprise announcement. Specifically, First Solar raised its expectations for net sales from between $2.8 billion to $2.9 billion, up to between $2.85 billion to $2.95 billion. Earnings per share also increased, from expecting losses of between $0.80 to $0.05 per share, to somewhere between a loss of $0.30 per share to a gain of $0.40 per share.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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