First Solar Inc.
) given its increasing focus on India has completed an agreement
for the supply of thin-film solar modules to Kiran Energy Solar
Power Pvt. Ltd. and Mahindra Solar One Pvt. Ltd. The modules will
be utilized for two solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants totalling
50 megawatts (MW) DC to be constructed in India's Rajasthan state.
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The two adjacent projects, which together will be one of India's
largest PV installations upon completion, are part of the second
batch of utility-scale solar projects concluded under India's
Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM). The NSM aims to
install 20,000 MW of new solar electricity generating capacity by
First Solar will supply more than 585,000 of its advanced,
thin-film solar modules for the two projects of 30 MWDC and 20
MWDC. Construction on both projects is expected to begin this year
and be completed in the first quarter of 2013.
Together, the side-by-side projects are expected to produce an
average of more than 85,000 megawatt-hours of clean electricity per
year, equivalent to the annual electricity needs of more than
97,000 average Indian households, and displace more than 80,000
metric tons of CO2 per year based on the national averages.
First Solar has cumulatively produced approximately 80 million of
its advanced, thin-film solar modules, which represents a peak
generating capacity of more than six gigawatts, enough to power
more than 3.3 million homes and displace about four million tons of
CO2 per year.
First Solar is the only stand-alone solar player in the S&P 500
Index. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, the company designs, manufactures
and sells solar electric power modules using a proprietary thin
film semiconductor technology. The company's solar modules employ a
thin layer of cadmium telluride semiconductor material to convert
sunlight into electricity. It sells its products to project
developers, system integrators, and operators of renewable energy
projects, primarily in Europe with a distinct focus on Germany.
First Solar also focuses on designing and deploying commercial
solar projects for utilities.
Currently, the solar industry is experiencing a steep drop in
Average Selling Prices. Also, the current macro scenario does not
bode well for the solar industry, which thrives mainly on subsidies
and grants. However, First Solar stands out among the pack due to
its stable liquidity position, which is in sharp contrast to its
cash-strapped peers. Moreover, in order to counter the weak trend,
the company is focusing more on utility-scale electricity power
projects. It is partially compensating for its drop in margins
through a major restructuring of its operations.
First Solar presently retains a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold)
rating. Over the longer run we also maintain our long-term Neutral
recommendation on the stock. This is in line with other solar peers
Canadian Solar Inc.