The company posted adjusted earnings per share of $1.45 on revenue of $928 million.
The company had been expected to report adjusted earnings of 63 cents a share, on sales of $676.5 million, based on a FactSet survey of 13 analysts.
In the same period a year ago, the company posted earnings of 29 cents a share on sales of $546.8 million.
First Solar said in a statement that revenue surged "due to international project sales, and an increase in the volume of modules sold to third parties."
The company said its results haven't been materially affected by Covid-19 and that it was reinstating guidance. For the fourth quarter the company forecast sales of $540 million to $790 million and earnings per share of $1 to $1.50. The forecast implies full-year revenue between $2.6 billion and $2.9 billion, the company said.
For the year, analysts had been projecting revenue of $2.7 billion.
“We delivered strong financial results for the third quarter,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, in the statement. “The dedication we continue to witness from our associates enabled us to expand module segment gross margin, close the sales of our Ishikawa, Miyagi, and Anamizu projects in Japan, and increase earnings per share quarter-over-quarter. This result reflects the strengths of our competitively advantaged CdTe modules and vertically integrated manufacturing process.”
Shares of First Solar rose $8.32, or 10%, to $90.71 in after-hours trading Tuesday.