By Phoenix Business Journal

First Solar Inc. saw revenue climb but income shrink in the second quarter.

The Tempe-based solar manufacturer had revenue of $588 million for the second quarter, up from $525 million a year earlier.

First Solarâ¿¿s income, however, dropped by nearly 12 percent -- from $181 million in second-quarter 2009 to $159 million this year. That equated to $1.84 per share.

Still, the earnings were better than forecasts by Yahoo Finance analysts, who expected the company to earn about $1.61 per share on $543 million in revenue for the quarter.

The company is working to develop its utility division, the result of the finalization of its purchase of NextLight Renewable Power LLC earlier in July.

⿿We⿿ve already benefited from the experienced team at NextLight and expect to be benefiting from the development pipeline in 2011,⿝ said CEO Robert Gillette.

The company is expanding its plants in Malaysia and Germany, with an expected annual capacity of 2.2 gigawatts of panels by 2012. First Solar now is seeing a cost per watt of 76 cents -- about half what it was in 2005, Gillette said.

First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) also has been working to diversify its market segments. Germany remains the companyâ¿¿s main revenue source, accounting for about 50 percent of its supply destination. The U.S. market has become the companyâ¿¿s second-largest market, Gillette said.

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