First Solar Q4 FY21 financial results: net sales jump 50%

Highlights :

  • The firm reported net sales worth $0.9 billion for the fourth quarter, an increase of $0.3 billion from the prior quarter.
  • The increase was primarily a result of international project sales and increased module sales in Q4 FY21, said the company.

US solar panel manufacturer First Solar has announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2021, reporting net sales worth $0.9 billion for the fourth quarter, an increase of $0.3 billion from the prior quarter. This 50% increase was primarily a result of international project sales and increased module sales in Q4 FY21, said the company.

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Unique among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers for being the only US-headquartered company, for not using a crystalline silicon (c-Si) semiconductor, and for not manufacturing in China, First Solar states that its thin film PV modules are produced using a fully integrated, continuous process under one roof without reliance on Chinese c-Si supply chains.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the entire First Solar team for their hard work and perseverance in a year where much of the solar PV manufacturing industry faced supply chain, logistics, cost, and pandemic-related challenges,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar.

“Despite these dynamics, our full year 2021 earnings per diluted share result came in above the mid-point of the guidance range we provided at the time of our third quarter earnings call, and is solidly within the original guidance range provided last February.”

The company reported fourth quarter net income per diluted share of $1.23, and full year net income per diluted share of $4.38.

Cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash, and marketable securities at the end of the fourth quarter decreased to $1.8 billion from $1.9 billion at the end of the prior quarter. The decrease was primarily a result of capital expenditures related to expansion in India and Ohio and operating expenses, claimed the company.

Forecasted net sales for 2022 are $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion. Operating income is forecasted to be $55 million to $150 million, which includes production start-up expense of $85 million to $90 million, underutilization losses related to factory upgrades of $10 million to $15 million, and a pre-tax gain related to the potential sale of the Japan project development and O&M platform of approximately $270 million to $290 million. Forecasted net income per diluted share is $0.00 to $0.60. The year-end 2022 ending net cash balance is projected to be in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.35 billion.

The complete 2022 guidance is as follows:

“We’ve got capacity expansion for two new factories: one here in Ohio, another in India…we are working to evaluate further expansion,” said Widmar during the company’s Earnings Call Q4 FY21.

Widmar further elaborated, “India pipeline, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of opportunities.”

In December last year, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) approved up to $500 million of debt financing for First Solar to support the company’s previously announced vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, with a projected annual capacity of 3.3 gigawatts (GW)

“You normally going to see them maybe looking to secure modules about a year out. In terms of when the expected deliveries are needed, we’re still looking second half of ’23. So we’re more than a year out to when the factory will be up and running. And we’re being a little careful with loading the front-end production with filling that volume through at this point in time, just because there could be potential delays,” he stated.

We’ve got a lot of opportunities in the pipeline. And I think you’re going to see multiple gigawatts of bookings before the end of the year for India,” reiterated Widmar.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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