First Solar Third-Quarter Profit Surges on Power-Plant Sales

First Solar Inc., the largest U.S. solar-panel manufacturer, said third-quarter profit almost doubled on sales of power plants and revenue from new projects.

Net income rose to $195 million, or $1.94 a share, from $87.9 million, or $1, a year earlier, Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar said today in a statement. The company was expected to earn 83 cents, the average of 12 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 51 percent to $1.27 billion.

Profit rose as First Solar recorded about half the revenue it expects to receive from its Desert Sunlight project in Southern California and sold plants that it built in Canada, the company said in a statement. The company in August said it expected to record about a third of the 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight project revenue this year.

For the year, First Solar reduced its sales guidance to $3.4 billion to $3.6 billion from an August expectation of $3.6 billion to $3.8 billion. Cost reductions will help boost 2013 net income to $4.25 to $4.50 a share, up from a prior estimate of $3.75 to $4.25.

First Solar rose 9 percent to $54.81 at 5 p.m. in New York. The shares have more than doubled in the past year.

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