First Solar (FSLR) Rises on Japanese Module Supply Agreement - Analyst Blog

First Solar, Inc. ( FSLR ) has entered into an agreement with XSOL Co., Ltd. (XSOL) to deliver First Solar's cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film modules in Japan. The aim of the agreement is to install 100 megawatts (MW) DC annually. The market reacted positively to the news with First Solar's share price edging up around 2.3% to $65.53 on Jul 28, 2014 from the closing price last Friday.

Kyoto, Japan-based XSOL is a solar energy company, which provides full-service photovoltaic (PV) systems. The company is engaged in the design, construction, construction management and sales of industrial, public and residential solar generation systems.

Currently, demand for solar energy is gradually on the rise given the growing awareness about its advantages. Japan figures significantly among the budding solar markets particularly after the Fukushima disaster that led to the deactivation of its nuclear reactors.

As per shipment figures reported by the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association, the country's PV market recorded 60% year-over-year growth in the final quarter of the country's fiscal year 2013, ended on Mar 31, 2014. In fiscal 2014, Japan is expected to install above 10 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, more than 50% of which will be utility-scale solar.

First Solar is looking to tap the growing Japanese market for solar energy. In Nov 2013, the company announced that it will invest around $100 million in Japan to build solar power plants along with local partners. This will give First Solar a presence in small scale solar projects in this emerging market.

To that end, First Solar has inked this strategic alliance with XSOL, which has a track record of promoting solar products in Japan on behalf of its foreign partners.

In Jan 2014, XSOL inked an agreement with another renowned solar PV manufacturer Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited ( YGE ) to sell and promote YGE 60 Cell Series modules in Japan. XSOL also utilizes multicrystalline modules, manufactured by Canadian Solar Inc. ( CSIQ ), at its several projects based in Japan and South Korea. As XSOL has strong knowledge of the domestic solar market, the latest business alliance is expected to enable First Solar to book more contracts from Japanese customers.

First Solar continues to upgrade the standard of its product as well as service quality. The company's CdTe thin film technology efficiently converts sunlight into electricity. Its thin film modules have the highest theoretical efficiency of any PV material and are considerably higher than crystalline silicon. These modules have a superior temperature coefficient and spectral response, and also maximize value and minimize risk for customers.

In Mar 2014, First Solar inked an agreement with General Electric Company ( GE ) to develop a state-of-the-art utility-scale PV power plant design. The partnership will combine First Solar's thin-film CdTe modules with General Electric's new 4-MW ProSolar 1500 Volt inverter/transformer system. When this is combined with ProSolar inverter/transformer stations, it increases the magnitude of the solar array served by each inverter.

First Solar currently has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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