First Solar (FSLR) Expects Costs To Decline By One Third Over Next 5 Years

First Solar just announced that it expects to slash its manufacturing costs by a third over the next 5 years. The company expects to cut costs from 92 cents per watt to between 52 and 62 cents per watt. First Solar expects to achieve its cost per watt goals by improving the conversion efficiency of its cadmium telluride panels to somewhere between 16 and 18 percent.

In an article posted on Reuters, First Solar CEO Mike Ahearn stated that the company would be cautious about lowering prices to compete with silicon panel manufacturers:

“Broadly speaking we need to look at price as a way to drive throughput against the production plan we’ve put in place. The question becomes, is price the constraint?” Ahearn said. “Is that the issue or is volume throughput constrained by other factors like project finance or permitting approvals and so on? It’s pretty easy to get caught up in market hype … Sometimes it’s hard to see what the real data points are.”

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