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First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) | Company Profile, History, Competitors

 

First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) is a global provider of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions and systems. The company develops, manufactures and sells thin-film PV solar modules and PV solar power systems. It was founded in 1999 and headquartered in Tempe, AZ.

First Solar is a specialized producer of solar modules using CdTe technology which has been effective in competing against traditional silicon technology.

Business Overview

First Solar operates in two main segments:
  • Modules (27% of 2017 Revenues): Develops, manufactures and sells cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film solar modules.
  • Systems (73% of 2017 Revenues): Manufactures solar modules and develops, operates and maintains utility scale PV solar power systems to customers. Also, First Solar provides EPC services and O&M services to customers and sells electricity from power plant projects on the balance sheet.

Technology

First Solar has a differentiated CdTe technology that provides it with lower costs than competitors. As of 2017, their CdTe technology is exempted from 201 trade tariffs because it was made in the United States.

First Solar is in the process of developing Series 6 technology. This costs 40% less than their current Series 4 technology modules and cell efficiency improves to 22%. Series 6 integrates into existing systems for crystalline silicon modules.

Management

Mark Widmar (CEO): Mark Widmar serves as CEO since 2016. Prior, he was Chief Accounting Officer of First Solar. He has also worked at CFO of GrafTech.

Alex Bradley (CFO): Alex Bradley serves as CFO since 2016. Prior, he was VP of Treasury of First Solar. He has also worked as an investment banker at HSBC.

Financials

 $ USD in millions    2013    2014 2015 2016 2017
 Revenues $3,310 $3,391 $4,113 $2,905 $2,941 
 Gross Profit $865 $825  $1,133  $638  $549 
 Operating Profit $370 $422  $730  ($568) $178 
 Net Income$351 $396 $593 ($416)($166)
 EPS$3.74 $3.96 $5.88 ($4.05)($1.59)