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Published: Wednesday, 2/29/2012

First Solar posts loss of $413M in 4th quarter


TEMPE, Ariz. — First Solar Inc., the world’s largest maker of thin-film solar panels, reported a fourth-quarter loss Tuesday of $413 million, or $4.74 a share, compared with a profit of $155.9 million, or $1.80 a share, a year earlier. The company was expected to earn $1.02 cents a share, the average of 18 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose to $660 million from $609.8 million.

Solar panel prices decreased 50 percent last year as a global glut increased competition and governments reduced incentives for renewable energy. In response, First Solar lowered its sales forecast, production and capital spending plans, and ousted its chief executive officer.

First Solar was started in Toledo, and its only operating U.S. production facility is a 1,200-employee plant in Perrysburg Township.

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