First Solar, (FSLR 2.70%) is one of the largest PV solar panel manufacturers in the world . With $3.4 billion in sales for fiscal 2014, it is both the brains and brawn behind some of the largest solar farms on earth. It designs and constructs utility-scale solar projects and sells them off to the highest bidder, often with a deal to continue operations and maintenance for 20 years or more.
Rather than rely on fancy zero-money-down lease options for individual residential rooftop users, First Solar, claims its entirely vertical operations make it the most competitive. From start to finish, First Solar, is there to ensure quality and keep costs low.
Over the past nine years, First Solar, has enjoyed major expansion. The corporation has 30 manufacturing lines around the world collectively capable of pushing out 70,000 modules each day, equivalent to 2,700 MW worth of solar panels every year.
But First Solar's size doesn't make it invincible, and the company faces risks just like any other investment. The solar industry world is changing fast, and corporations that were leading the world one year could see sales slide and profits plummet the next year. In every annual 10-K SEC filing, corporations have to list their biggest risks. Here are three of the biggest risks First Solar, thinks it (and its shareholders) has to handle.