Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



First Solar, Inc. Earnings: What to Expect Tuesday

First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR  ) will release its quarterly report on Tuesday, and investors have had mixed views in how they assess the solar giant's future. Falling costs throughout the industry have led many more people to consider solar installations, but at least for now, First Solar has largely ceded the booming residential-solar market to SolarCity and SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) , choosing instead to continue focusing on its competitive advantage in meeting utility-scale solar demand.

Success in the solar industry right now is all about growth, and First Solar has made the most of its particular area of specialty in serving big utility customers with massive projects to take maximum advantage of opportunities for solar electricity generation. Yet the company doesn't have that space all to itself, with SunPower and other players looking to get their fair share of such projects as well. The question investors have to answer is whether First Solar can keep its edge while finding enough projects to take full advantage of its production capacity. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with First Solar over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its report.

Source: First Solar.

Stats on First Solar

Analyst EPS Estimate


Change From Year-Ago EPS


Revenue Estimate

$965.38 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue


Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

What's next for First Solar earnings?
Analysts have gotten a bit more optimistic about First Solar earnings in recent months, boosting their fourth-quarter estimates by a penny per share and their full-year 2014 projections by $0.04 per share. The stock has given up ground, though, falling 13% since mid-November.

First Solar's third-quarter earnings report impressed shareholders, with revenue jumping by more than half and net income more than doubling from year-ago levels. Moreover, First Solar increased its earnings guidance for the full year, citing both reductions in production costs and sales of major projects in California and Canada for the surprising results. The company reduced its sales expectations for the full 2013 year, but First Solar expects that to be a timing issue rather than a permanent loss of revenue.

Still, some fear that First Solar is missing out on the boom in residential solar installations and that doing so could cause problems down the road. Yet even though residential solar has soared in popularity, solar costs are now falling to a level at which some utility-scale installations are competitive with fossil-fuel-produced grid electricity, with First Solar having signed an agreement recently to sell electricity in Arizona below the grid price. The fact that SunPower is still trying to be a force in utility solar shows that it's still a potential growth opportunity, and with utilities having to fight back against residential solar, adopting lower-cost solar projects of their own is a natural place to center their efforts.

One fascinating area for growth for First Solar could come from the mining industry. With energy costs on the rise, miners across the world are looking at customized projects to provide power for mining operations. First Solar's presence in Australia gives it a big opportunity to serve miners there, while competitor SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE  ) expects to complete a 100 megawatt project to serve Chile's CAP and other companies are looking at similar power agreements.

Not everything has gone well for First Solar, though. Last month, Europe chose not to impose tough renewable-energy targets on all of the European Commission's member nations, instead choosing an overall goal. The resulting drop in possible demand hit First Solar and its peers hard, but First Solar has diversified its exposure well beyond Europe and so shouldn't see as big a business impact as some of its more Euro-centric peers.

In the First Solar earnings report, watch to see how the company's integration of its TetraSun purchase last year is faring. With expectations for higher-efficiency cells, First Solar needs to demonstrate that it can expand its scope of business as a result of the deal. If it can, then First Solar could see a new wave of growth as a result.

It's time for your portfolio's day in the sun
They said you just couldn't find great growth stocks consistently. But David Gardner has proved them wrong time, and time, and time again with stock returns like 926%, 2,239%, and 4,371%. In fact, just recently one of his favorite stocks became a 100-bagger. And he's ready to do it again. You can uncover his scientific approach to crushing the market and his carefully chosen six picks for ultimate growth instantly, because he's making this premium report free for you today. Click here now for access.

Click here to add First Solar to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2850210, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/1/2015 10:10:12 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,209.64 -318.39 -1.93%
S&P 500 1,935.15 -37.03 -1.88%
NASD 4,706.41 -70.09 -1.47%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/1/2015 9:54 AM
FSLR $48.09 Up +0.25 +0.52%
First Solar CAPS Rating: ***
SPWR $23.55 Down -0.71 -2.93%
SunPower Corporati… CAPS Rating: ****
SUNE $10.80 Up +0.40 +3.85%
SunEdison CAPS Rating: **