First Solar reported a return to net profit in the third quarter, driven by growing demand and strategic investments, leading the US-based thin-film photovoltaics (PV) manufacturer to raise the lower end of its full-year earnings forecast.
On Tuesday, the company announced that it now expects to achieve earnings per diluted share ranging between USD 7.20 (EUR 6.81) and USD 8.00 for the year 2023, compared to the previous guidance of USD 7.00-8.00. First Solar has also expanded the lower end of its operating profit guidance, along with adjustments to its forecast for operating expenses.
The company's increased revenues, up 27.4% year-on-year, were attributed to rising market demand and strategic investments in manufacturing and technology. In the third quarter, First Solar reported a net profit of USD 268.4 million, a significant turnaround from the USD 49.2 million loss incurred in the same period the previous year.
Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, highlighted the company's growth, emphasizing its unique strengths, including strong demand for its products, manufacturing excellence, a competitive technology platform, and a business model focused on delivering value to customers and shareholders.
During the third quarter, First Solar continued to expand its production capacities in locations such as Alabama, India, and Ohio. These expansion efforts, including the construction of its fifth fully vertically integrated production site, a 3.5-gigawatt manufacturing facility in Louisiana, contributed to a decrease in cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, restricted cash equivalents, and marketable securities, which now amount to USD 1.3 billion.
As of the end of September, the company's year-to-date net bookings reached 27.8 gigawatts (GW), with 6.8 GW in new orders received during the previous quarter. First Solar anticipates closing 2023 with a sales backlog of 81.8 GW, reflecting the company's strong position in the market.