In 2018, First Solar ranked sixth in a list of largest companies within the solar industry. Next to Canadian-Chinese Canadian Solar, it was the only company featured among the leading ten with headquarters outside Asia. In its 2019 fiscal year, First Solar recorded an operating loss of 161.79 billion U.S. dollars. It was the fourth year since 2007 that the company had seen an annual operating loss. Uncertainty over expiration of government subsidies, tax incentives, and other financial support for renewable energy adoption greatly shape First Solar’s performance. This is particularly true for large markets such as the United States and India, which are among First Solar’s main sales regions. Nevertheless, it was valued at over five billion U.S. dollars in July 2020, making it one of the leading solar firms by market capitalization.
First Solar primarily manufactures cadmium telluride-based photovoltaic modules and has created new technologies that have broken several solar efficiency records. The company continues to invest heavily in research and development to further increase the efficiency of the company’s thin film module technologies. Cadmium telluride solar cells are a type of thin-film solar cell and manufactured by First Solar using 30 different types of raw materials. In order to reduce its waste footprint, the company became the first within the industry to introduce a module collection and recycling program.