First Solar’s Revenue Jumped More Than 35% In 2019 – Can This Growth Continue?

by Trefis Team
First Solar
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First Solar’s (NASDAQ: FSLR) Total Revenue grew from $2.94 billion in 2017 to $3.06 billion in 2019, and we expect it to grow marginally to $3.12 billion by 2021, supported by strong sales for the modules segment. The fall in revenue from 2017 to 2018 had been due to an overall fall in demand, and the company scaling back on Series 4 module shipments. However, the company’s shipments saw a steep growth in 2019 and this, combined with a growth in selling prices, has helped drive total revenue to $3.06 billion, up 36% from $2.24 billion in 2018. However, going forward we expect revenue to stay roughly stagnant, as growth in the modules segment is expected to be offset by a weakness in systems sales.

In our interactive dashboard First Solar Revenue: How Does First Solar Make Money?, we discuss First Solar’s business model, followed by sections that review past performance and 2021 expectations for First Solar’s revenue.

A look at First Solar’s segments and their contribution to total revenue

(A) Revenue from Photovoltaic Modules to increase ~1.2x (adding about $300 million) in the next two years, with its share of Total Revenue expected to be about 56% by 2021

  • Revenue from this segment declined from about $810 million in 2017 to $500 million in 2018, as First Solar scaled back on its Series 4 module production, while ramping up Series 6 production capacity.
  • However, with Series 6 modules rolling out, revenue grew nearly 3x to $1.46 billion in 2019.
  • We expect growth in this segment to continue over the next few years, driving revenue to $1.75 billion by 2021.

(B) Revenue from Photovoltaic Systems to decrease by around 14% (by about $230 million) in the next two years, with its share of Total Revenue expected to be about 44% by 2021

  • Tougher pricing conditions and a lower number of projects led to a steady decline in revenue from $2.13 billion in 2017 to $1.6 billion in 2019.
  • We expect systems revenue to decline further to around $1.37 billion by 2021, and make up about 44% of the company’s revenue.
  • This is due to a rapid decrease in systems demand, and an increase in module demand.

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