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Guest Klothilde

First Solar (FSLR)

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Guest spiritcraft   
Guest spiritcraft

It's usually installation costs also... labor, "soft costs" like permitting, fees, profit etc. We concentrate so much on trying to figure out who can squeeze a penny or two here and there and often overlook BOS costs. It is really stunning how low BOS costs are in Germany as compared to the US. Germany has a union-like, well paid and experienced workforce and their BOS costs for utility scaly install is like 35% of that in the US. I can't quote the exact figures but have read much about it somewhat recently. Perhaps Boss could help or if ABC is lurking as he was the expert in this area. Whatever the figure, it is astonishing. Here in the US, if we could get BOS costs under serious control, you could see unsubsidized utility scale development expand into the 10's of GW annually. I do remember that "soft costs" were crazy high here as opposed to Germany. I suspect there is a corporate skimming off the top by the sponsor, developer? My 20 years in Real Estate development, working on multi-million dollar projects makes me immediately suspect that "soft costs" here may be greatly enhanced by developer fees and profits that actually hinder economic feasibility. (I have seen it all) I can't figure out what else might cause the huge discrepancy as it certainly isn't labor costs. I also don't believe it is land, site acquisition costs... especially if we are talking areas of desert in the SW. The gist of it is that we seem to forget sometimes that BOS costs in the US in particular are really holding back massive installations since we are now talking about grid parity rather than reliance on subsidies. That's my rant...

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Guest littleguyintucson   
Guest littleguyintucson

All you have to know to figure out that FSLR is in trouble is the fact that they did not want to give guidance for 2013.

FSLR just reported blow out number that no other solar even comes close to. They have a matrue proect pipeline to drive margins. Q1 pushing 25% GM is phenominal. Only other of the C11 coming close in the near future is CSIQ and their close is like $1 EPS.

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explo    671

All you have to know to figure out that FSLR is in trouble is the fact that they did not want to give guidance for 2013.

The fact that they can buy a module with 15% conversion efficiency, saving a lot of BOS cost compared to their own 13%, for 65 cents while having a 68 cent cost to make their own inferior modules, says that their module production is holding back their project profitability. Modules too bad, sad but true? Projects too good to be true, over time?

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Guest nanofrogfish_spf   
Guest nanofrogfish_spf

We concentrate so much on trying to figure out who can squeeze a penny or two here and there and often overlook BOS costs. It is really stunning how low BOS costs are in Germany as compared to the US.

spirit, you hit on a very important topic, that people seem to be simply ignoring...that we're down to pennies on the modules, while there are nickles, dimes and quarters to be saved on the BOS side.

I believe most of the inefficiency happens before construction starts. This includes both design and permitting requirements. In the US, permitting is erratic from state to state, and usually involves multiple agencies with long delays. Many companies have been working more towards cookie-cutter designs and details to help cut down on the design side....for instance, a residential solar comapny can sell kits that come in 5kW increments, but nothing in-between unless you pay a premium...

On the red-tape side, over time this will become more efficient as the industry matures and the process is streamlined...something Germany has a huge head-start over the US. I think you'll find the same dynamic unfold in all new markets...it's just part of the industry's maturation process.

We should really pay more attention to the BOS side, as lowering this will help fuel future growth. I've posted this comment before from an article in REW about module costs, but I think it's worth repeating because it supports this theme;

Shah adds that most developers today are “not looking for price reductions,” citing significantly lowered costs as the primary reason. “The difference between getting a 70 cent a watt module and a 65 cent a watt module is just not that big of a deal anymore for system costs,” Shah said. “People are now looking at non price features for making decision on who to buy from.”

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Guest littleguyintucson   
Guest littleguyintucson
The fact that they can buy a module with 15% conversion efficiency, saving a lot of BOS cost compared to their own 13%, for 65 cents while having a 68 cent cost to make their own inferior modules, says that their module production is holding back their project profitability. Modules too bad, sad but true? Projects too good to be true, over time?
So what you are stating is, they have room to grow margins. :)

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