First Solar: Thriving in a Pioneering Industry

| About: First Solar, (FSLR)

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) recently announced second-quarter revenue of $267 million, over three times its revenue from the second quarter of 2007. The company was also selected to build two of the largest solar PV plants in California.

Company Description

First Solar develops solar power technology, with the goal of making it a cost-effective alternative to conventional energy resources. The company sells Photovoltaic [PV] Modules to commercial power plants and utility companies. First Solar takes part in the entire life-cycle of its products, from creation to collection and recycling. The company is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona and has a market cap of $22.4 billion.

Another Strong Quarter

On July 30th First Solar announced second-quarter results included earnings of 85 cents per share, up from 57 cents per share in the previous quarter. The results topped the consensus estimate of 59 cents per share. The surprise was the fourth positive earnings surprise in the last four quarters, with each beating the consensus estimate by more than 20%.

Revenue was $267 million, up 35% from the previous quarter and a year-over-year increase of 345%. The consensus earnings estimate for the full-year of 2009 is now $6.55 per share, up from $5.85 within the last week.

Contract with California's Biggest Electric Utility Company

First Solar announced that Southern California Edison has chosen the company to design and supply a 2 megawatt system for a commercial building in Fontana, California. The proposed plant will be the largest rooftop plant of its kind in California and is already under construction. Souther California Edison plans to install 250 megawatts of solar capacity over the next five years.

The company will also build and maintain a new plant in Blythe, California in 2009. The PV power plant will have capacity of at least 7.5 megawatts, which could increase to 21 megawatts. It will be the largest ground-based PV plant in California.

Striving in a Pioneering Industry

The company boasts a profit margin of 27.3%, in an industry that averages -46.8%. First Solar's projected 5-year growth rate is 47.5%, well above its the industry average of 31.6%. The company has a Zacks Rank of #1 and is the top-rated alternative energy company.

The Chart

Shares of First Solar have recently traded sideways, after dropping from the 52-week high of $317.00, set in early May. The stock is consolidating and continues to pressure a key level of resistance at $290.00. Take a look at the chart below.

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Tagged: , Semiconductor - Specialized, Earnings
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