Monday, January 16, 2012

Is First Solar Inc., the Parent of Antelope Valley’s Solar projects: Willow Springs, AVSolar Rancho One and EdisonMission Energy in financial trouble?

According to Investing Daily and other news sources First Solar lowered its sales forecast. First Solar said it now expects sales of $2.8 billion to $2.9 billion on the year, down from its previous estimate of $3.0 billion to $3.3 billion. The company also said it will lay off about 100 workers, or roughly 1.5% of its workforce.
There stock was at a high in 2008 at 300 a share to now under $40 a share. Other stock watchers have indicated that the Chinese are making less expensive solar panel chips, so First Solar intends to get out of the roof panel business part of solar. The Chinese production is highly automated and the factories are subsidized.
Other solar companies have gone bankrupt such as Fremont, Ca. Solyndra and Massachusetts based Evergreen Solar.
First Solar’s press release, Mike Ahearn, the company’s chairman and interim CEO, alluded to subsidy cuts when he said the company was recalibrating its business “to focus on building and serving sustainable markets rather than pursuing subsidized markets.”
First Solar is not in the same situation as Solyndra as Solyndra was backed by US Government loans. Evergreen Solar situation is also different. Evergreen was selling primarily solar panels. Solar panel prices dropped worldwide and Evergreen was losing money on every panel it made. That is a reason why First Solar is getting out of the panel business.
We will be keeping tabs on First Solar’s progress and it has become a pivotal part of the landscape in Antelope Valley.

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