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While European solar firms have seen profits shrink as a result of increasing competition from China’s government-subsidized solar manufacturers, Arizona-based First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced plans for expansions on Thursday.
In two separate press releases, First Solar announced the appointment of Bruce Yung as the company’s managing director of business development for China and construction plans for for four solar power plants in New Mexico.
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Yung’s appointment comes as the largest U.S. solar panel manufacturer looks to expand into China, a country which increased its 2015 solar power target by 40 percent last month. His expertise, said Executive Vice President Jim Brown, “will help us to expand the market for utility-scale solar PV power plants in China and to deliver value to Chinese solar power producers.”
Shares in First Solar have risen 40 percent in the last three months, but an analysis of American solar companies published by Seeking Alpha on Wednesday still downgraded the stock from “buy” to “hold” because the company’s operating income has been negatively affected by restructuring costs. However, the publication warned that profitability is currently difficult for all solar companies and offered a cautious outlook for both China-based Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) and Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL).
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