First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Apr 26, 2018 • 04:30 pm ET

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First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the First Solar's First Quarter 2018 Earnings Call. This call is being webcast live on the Investors section at First Solar's website at investor.firstsolar.com.

At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. As a reminder, today's call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the call over to Steve Haymore from First Solar Investor Relations. Mr. Haymore, you may begin.

Executive
Stephen Haymore

Thank you, Ashley. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us. Today, the company issued a press release announcing its first quarter financial results. A copy of the press release and associated presentation are available on our website at investor.firstsolar.com. With me today are Mark Widmar, Chief Executive Officer; and Alex Bradley Chief Financial Officer. Mark will begin by providing a business and technology update. Alex will then discuss our financial results for the quarter and provide updated guidance for 2018. We will then open the call for questions.

Most of the financial numbers reported and discussed on today's call are based on US generally accepted accounting principles. In a few cases where we report non-GAAP measures such as free cash flow or non-GAAP EPS, we have reconciled these measures to the corresponding GAAP measures at the back of our presentation.

Please note this call will include forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from management's current expectations. We encourage you to review the safe harbor statements contained in today's press release and presentation for a more complete description.

It is now my pleasure to introduce Mark Widmar, Chief Executive Officer. Mark?

Executive
Mark Widmar

Thanks, Steve. Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us today. Moments ago, we issued a press release announcing that First Solar plans to construct a new Series 6 module manufacturing facility in Ohio, which will significantly increase our domestic production capacity. This decision is in response to the continued strong demand for our Series 6 product and allows us to better address the growing US solar market. Furthermore, it is a strong testament to the competitiveness of US manufacturing within the global landscape.

As highlighted on Slide 4, this greenfield factory will have a nameplate capacity of 1.2 gigawatts and will be built essentially next to our current manufacturing operations in Ohio. Combined with our existing Series 6 factory in Ohio, which has a nameplate capacity of 600 megawatts, this additional facility will bring the total planned Series 6 production in the US to 1.8 gigawatts and further solidify our position as the largest US solar module manufacturer. We expect production to begin in late 2019 and the factory to be fully ramped by the end of 2020. The total capital expenditures to construct this facility are expected to be approximately $400 million and will be incurred over the next two years. The site selected could accommodate a second factory of equal size, and we will continue to monitor market conditions and our relative competitive position as we evaluate