With prices tanking along with sales, First Solar, the world’s largest manufacturer of thin-filmed solar panels, “slashed its profit and sales forecast today and said it will fire about 100 employees, most of them at a Santa Clara, California, research center, the Tempe, Arizona-based company said today in a filing,” Bloomberg reports.
In addition, First Solar is abandoning its quest to develop copper-indium-gallium-selenide technology, or CIGS, the same type of solar panel that Solyndra produced before its infamous bankruptcy.
In a column titled “First Solar Sounds Alarm Bells,” the Motley Fool reports that the world is catching on to the fact that thin-filmed solar panels are woefully inefficient:
First Solar is beginning to be hit hard by falling module prices and a generally weak solar market right now. If I had to read between the lines, I would say that more efficient modules from competitors like Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL ) , Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE ) , and Suntech Power (NYSE: STP ) are beginning to become more favored as sales prices fall.
As a result, First Solar’s stock is dropping like a stone, down more than 20 percent just today.
Why is this bad news for Colorado-based Abound Solar?
Because First Solar now plans to “double-down” on its production of cadmium-telluride solar panels, the same kind that Abound produces. As we reported a few weeks ago, Abound cannot compete with First Solar on either volume or price, so First Solar’s plans to “double-down” on cadmium-telluride, thin-filmed production can’t be welcome news within the walls of Abound Solar. It also isn’t good news for taxpayers, since they are on the hook for a $400 million Department of Energy loan guarantee.