Module Manufacturer First Solar Reports Net Loss of $49 Million in Q3 2022

The company plans to invest $1.2 billion to scale the production of solar modules


U.S.-based solar modules manufacturer First Solar has recorded a net loss of $49.17 million in the third quarter (Q3) of 2022, representing a quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) fall in income by 188%. The net income in Q2 2022 was $55.8 million, primarily driven by the sale of the company’s Japan project development platform.

In a year-over-year (YoY) comparison, the net loss widened by 208% compared to the net income of $45.2 million. The increase in loss was attributed mainly to the rise in production start-up expenses, which increased from $2.95 million in Q3 2021 to $19.8 million in Q3 2022.

The firm’s net sales in Q3 2022 stood at $628.93 million, a marginal increase of 1% from $620.95 million in Q2 2022. Net sales were up by 7% compared to $583.5 million recorded in the same period last year. The increase in net sales was primarily driven by higher module volumes sold from First Solar’s plants in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash, and marketable securities at the end of the third quarter remained at $1.9 billion, consistent with the prior quarter. Capital expenditures for expansions were funded by operating cash flows and a credit facility, with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation supporting the financing of the India manufacturing plant.

“Our focus continues to be on setting the stage for long-term growth, and from this point of view, 2022 has so far proven to be foundational,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “This year, we have developed the potential for our CdTe semiconductor technology by progressing our next-generation Series 7 and bifacial platforms, set in motion plans to scale our global manufacturing capacity to over 20 GW by 2025, and secured record year-to-date bookings of 43.7 GW with deliveries extending into 2027.”

Nameplate Manufacturing Capacity

Source: First Solar

The company had a record year-to-date net booking of 43.7 GW in Q3 2022. The company manufactured 2.4 GW of solar modules during the quarter and had shipments of 2.8 GW.

First Solar announced an investment of $1.2 billion to scale the production of American-made solar modules totaling 4.4 GW to support the country’s transition to decarbonization until 2025. The company is set to build its fourth, fully vertically integrated domestic factory, with an annual capacity of 3.5 GW in the southwest U.S. It targets allocating $1 billion to the new factory, which will be operational by 2025.

The company will invest $200 million to upgrade and expand its production footprint in Northwest Ohio, which is deemed the largest vertically integrated complex in the Western Hemisphere, with a capacity of 0.9 GW.

The company also plans to invest approximately $270 million in a dedicated research and development innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio. The new R&D center will be located near First Solar’s existing Perrysburg manufacturing facility, covering an area of approximately 1.3 million square feet. It will feature a high-tech pilot manufacturing line allowing for the production of full-sized prototypes of thin film and tandem modules. The facility is expected to be completed in 2024.

In June 2021, First Solar announced that it would invest $684 million to set up a 3.3 GW vertically-integrated thin-film solar module manufacturing facility in India. The company produces thin-film solar panel modules that do not use polysilicon. India is the second-largest market for the company after North America.