US solar panel manufacturer First Solar maintained its annual revenue and shipment outlooks after beginning production at its Ohio series 6 cell facility.
The photovoltaic producer forecast $3.5bn-$3.7bn in revenue for 2019, flat from its prior outlook, even as revenue dropped in the third quarter. It also expects to ship 5.4-5.6GW of modules.
Production also started at its Perrysburg, Ohio, series 6 module manufacturing facility. The plant will be scaled up to 1.9GW/yr of capacity, which adds to its current capacity across all locations of 6.7GW/yr. Series 6 modules utilize up to 264 cells of thin film cadmium-telluride (CdTe).
CdTe modules can require as much as 83.51kg of cadmium and 90.38kg of tellurium to generate a MW of electricity, according to a 2017 study from the World Bank Group. By these estimates, the new facility could consume as much as 171.7 t/yr of tellurium and 158.6 t/yr of cadmium when running at full capacity.
Market participants expect consumption to fall below these figures. Based on the year-to-date trend for 2019, the US would have to more than triple imports of tellurium, as its only on pace to hit 47.6t for the year, according to US Commerce Department data.
Over the first nine months of the year, First Solar shipped 3.8GW of modules, up from 1.7GW in the prior year period.
Revenues for the quarter fell by 19pc to $547mn, while profits declined by 47pc to $31mn.
Bookings edged up to 5.4GW in 2019 from 5.2GW in the same period of 2018