First Solar Expects to Post Profit of $4.50 a Share in 2016

  • Revenue will climb to $4.1 billion on modest shipment increase
  • Company plans to ship up to 3 gigawatts of solar panels

First Solar Inc. expects record 2016 sales of as much as $4.1 billion as panel shipments increase slightly to as much as 3 gigawatts, in line with analysts’ expectations.

The largest U.S. solar manufacturer expects to report a profit next year of $4 to $4.50 a share, Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar said in a statement Wednesday. Shipments this year will be as much as 2.9 gigawatts, the company said Oct. 29.

First Solar is expected to report net income excluding some items of $4.04 per share next year on revenue of $3.94 billion, according to the average of 17 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That’s up more than 10 percent from this year.

Demand for solar power in the U.S. this year will reach a record 8.5 gigawatts in 2015 and 11 gigawatts next year, as consumers take advantage of a federal tax credit that pays for 30 percent of systems’ costs, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The tax credit is set to expire in 2017 for most rooftop systems and decline to 10 percent for commercial installations.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Hughes sees total demand in the U.S declining in 2017 after the tax credit expires. He expects to sell about 3 gigawatts of panels that year, about the same as in 2016.

“We don’t expect drastic measures,” Hughes said on a conference call Wednesday. “I don’t think we’ll have a problem moving modules.”

First Solar fell 8.1 percent to $54.30 at 5:09 p.m., after the close of regular trading in New York.

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