Tuesday, February 24, 2009

First Solar Claims $1-a-Watt "Industry Milestone" (Stock Spanked After-hours) FSLR

In the post immediately below I said "...I don't think it will be enough" [to beat analyst's estimates]. I didn't listen to the conference call but here's the after-hours line:

After Hours: 119.00 -18.68 (-13.57%) Feb 24 5:59pm ET

Here's the headline story from the NYT's Green Inc. blog:

The solar photovoltaic industry has plenty of supporters, but wider uptake of the technology has long been hampered by cost.

High costs have not just prevented consumers and companies plastering more homes and offices with solar cells. They also have bolstered the claim that large quantities of fossil fuels and nuclear power will be necessary in the future in part because solar panels do not provide value for money.

On Tuesday, First Solar, a global photovoltaic cell maker based in Tempe, Arizona said it had reached an “industry milestone” by reducing its production costs to the point where making solar cells that produce one watt of power costs $1.

In a statement — seen by Green Inc. on Tuesday — First Solar, which has produced modules for solar installations in several countries in Europe, said it had brought costs down to $1 from $3 over the past four years through economies of scale by increasing its production capacity by 50 times, and by passing-on those savings to customers and consumers.

First Solar’s chief executive, Mike Ahearn, tipped his hat to countries like Germany that have offered generous tariffs to producers of solar electricity.

“Without forward-looking government programs supporting solar electricity, we would not have been able to invest in the capacity expansion which gives us the scale to bring costs down,” Mr. Ahearn said in the statement....MORE
Mr. Ahearn should probably also thank those hausfraus who paid the higher electricity costs for the $1.3 Billion that he and other insiders have realized from their single-minded deluge of insider sales. That's a lot of loot.