On the Brink

Another DOE-backed solar firm close to collapse

• May 3, 2012 4:55 pm


First Solar, the recipient of nearly $1.5 billion in taxpayer-financed grants and loans, appears to be on the brink of financial collapse.

The Arizona-based solar company on Thursday reported a net loss of $0.08 per share and a 12 percent decline in revenue during the first three months of 2012, far below analyst expectations.

Business Insider reports:

Revenue for the first quarter of 2012 came in at $497.1 million, as prices continued to fall across the industry.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg had forecast top line results of $678.8 million and earnings per share of $0.48.

"First Solar's performance in the quarter was impacted by an aggressive competitive environment resulting from persistent supply-demand imbalances in the market, as well as restructuring costs that will improve our operating efficiency and help position us for the future," First Solar Chairman Mike Ahearn said.

Just last month, First Solar announced plans to lay off 2,000 employees—about 30 percent of its workforce—and close a number of its facilities around the world.

Two green energy companies—Solyndra and Beacon Power—recently filed for bankruptcy, despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-guaranteed loans from the Department of Energy. The funding was made possible by the controversial $787 billion stimulus package passed by the Democratic Congress in early 2009.

Published under: First Solar, Obama Administration