Thin-film solar manufacturer First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) reported third-quarter earnings after the market closed today and beat expectations across the board. Revenue rose 51% from a year ago to $1.27 billion and net income more than doubled to $195.0 million, or $1.94 per share. Analysts expected just $988.6 million in revenue and $1.00 per share in earnings.  

First Solar's results can be volatile quarter to quarter depending on when project revenue is recognized, so it's important to keep the bigger picture in mind. That's why it's probably more important that full-year earnings guidance was raised to $4.25-$4.50 from a previous $3.75-$4.25, showing that improvement won't be a one-time event.

The other significant figure released was that 860 MW of projects have been booked since three months ago. This has helped push backlog up to 2.7 GW from 2.6 GW to start the year. Earlier in the year there was worry that backlog would continue to fall, so the signings this quarter were key for the company's long-term viability.

After-hours, shares are trading 8% higher and given strong margins and a growing backlog, the bump might be justified. This is one of the leading utility scale solar companies in the world and it has a huge addressable market in a fast-growing industry.