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First Solar to Sell Most of U.S. Development Platform to Leeward

First Solar is selling five development platforms comprising about 10 gigawatts to Leeward Renewable Energy.
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Shares of solar energy company First Solar  (FSLR) - Get First Solar, Inc. Report jumped Monday after the company announced it's selling most of its U.S. project development platform to renewable energy company Leeward Renewable Energy.

Leeward is adding solar panels to its portfolio of 21 wind farms across nine states that generate about 2,000 megawatts of capacity. The companies expect the deal to close in the first quarter of this year. 

Leeward's purchase consists of a utility-scale solar project platform of about 10 gigawatts. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed Monday. 

Leeward is purchasing 650 MWDC of First Solar's high-performance Series 6 photovoltaic solar modules and another 888 MWDC of Series 6 modules for five development projects.

First Solar will retain 1.1 gigawatts of projects in the U.S. that are expected to be sold separately. Members of First Solar's project development team will join Leeward upon the transaction's closing. 

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First Solar shares were down 1.76% to $104.79 Monday morning. 

Earlier this month, First Solar was the target of a rare double-downgrade from analysts at Goldman Sachs who say that the company's earnings and revenue have already peaked for the current cycle. 

Goldman Sachs analyst Brian Lee also slashed his price target on First Solar to $81, down from $101.

"FSLR's earnings and revenue have already peaked for this cycle, and we expect FSLR's gross margins to similarly peak in 1H21 as near-term reductions are offset by pricing declines ahead of Section 201 tariff expiration," Lee said in an investors' note.

Bifacial solar panels are no longer exempt from Section 201 tariffs after a new United States Court of International Trade ruling.

Lee said that First Solar significantly benefited from high pricing modules in the U.S. over the past few years due to Section 201 tariff concerns.