First Solar's Q3 profit, sales surge

First Solar’s third quarter profit more than doubled from a year earlier to $195m, or $1.94 per share, on surging sales and initial revenue recognition from the 550MW Desert Sunlight project in California.

Profit was $87.9m, or $1 per share in third quarter 2012.

Revenue was $1.3bn, up $427m from a year earlier.

Third quarter results were also helped by First Solar’s sale in August of three solar PV projects in Ontario, Canada, totaling 50MWac to an investment partnership led by General Electric Energy Financial Services, and higher sales volume to third-party module-only customers

"During the quarter we delivered on several key objectives, including additional bookings of 860MWdc, significant reductions to our module manufacturing cost, and strong financial performance,” says chief executive Jim Hughes.

“With these encouraging results achieved, we move forward, focusing on strengthening our leadership position in the marketplace and achieving our strategic objectives for future success."

The company updated its guidance from August for sales to $3.4bn to $3.6bn from a prior $3.6bn to $3.8 bn, and operating income to $470m to $490m, from $405m to $435m.

It now expects earnings per share between $4.25 to $4.50 versus an earlier $3.75 to $4.25.