First Solar (FSLR) Delays Vietnam Plant, Announces Improved Efficiencies

First Solar (FSLR) is up a bit in after hours trading after the company announced that it will hold off on commissioning its Vietnam plant until global demand improves.  Instead they will continue developing their factory in Mesa, AZ in order to supply modules for the Agua Caliente, Desert Sunlight, Antelope Valley and Topaz projects. 

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The company continues to invest in R&D in order to improve both efficiencies in manufacturing and electricity output of its solar panels.  They indicated that in July a world record of 17.3% efficiency was achieved resulting in an average conversion efficiency of 12.3% from its best performing production lines.  As a result the company sees average manufacturing throughput increasing about 10% next year.

"Our achievements in R&D continue to showcase the long-term conversion efficiency potential and scalability of our advanced thin-film technology," said Mike Ahearn, Chairman and interim CEO of First Solar. "This consolidation will help us to balance our production with market demand, while still providing local capacity to supply our U.S. project pipeline and the broader American market."

Traders like the news, sending the stock up another few percent in after hours trading, but overall the stock remains very weak and it will take time to repair the damage done when CEO Rob Gillette stepped down.

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