NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- First Solar ( FSLR), one of the largest alternative energy developers, has posted a solid first quarter with earnings nearly double what analysts expected and sales closing in on the billion-dollar mark.
Shares are popping in post-market trading, gaining 4.1% to reach $70.20.
Over its March-ending quarter, the Arizona-based business earned $1.10 a share, or $112 million, compared to 69 cents a share, or $61.5 million, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast earnings of 56 cents a share, or $51.2 million in net income.
In addition to better management of project costs, profits were boosted by 26% growth on the company's top-line. Revenue of $950.1 million blew past estimates of $837.95 million.
First Solar's momentum is set to continue with the company guiding for higher full-year earnings between $2.40 and $2.80 a share, up from a previous range of $2.20 to $2.60 a share. Analysts had expected $2.49 a share over the year to December.
Earlier, First Solar announced its contract with EDF Renewable Energy in California. As part of the agreement, the company will act as engineer for a 19.76 megawatt project and two 23 megawatt projects in Central California.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.