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Don't Worry, We'll Quiet Skeptics: First Solar CEO

Thursday, 11 Apr 2013 | 2:26 PM ET
First Solar CEO: Understands Skepticism, Comfortable With Guidance
Thursday, 11 Apr 2013 | 1:35 PM ET
First Solar CEO Jim Hughes discusses whether the solar industry can be profitable without government subsidies, as well as acquisitions the company has on tap this year.

Despite the financial woes battering solar panel manufacturers, alternative energy still has a bright future, First Solar CEO James Hughes said Thursday.

Decrying what he called the market's "U.S.-centric view of the world," Hughes said the buildup of energy sources such as natural gas was taking a toll on solar power.The prices per watt—a measure of how much a company makes from silicon production and solar panel manufacturing—has hit the industry hard, he added.

Ken James | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"Solar pricing has fallen so dramatically so fast, many people do not understand" how the industry has been affected, Hughes said. Still, he insisted that First Solar could stake out a value proposition, as analysts question whether the industry can survive without government subsidies and creative accounting.

"I understand the skepticism, and we take it as a challenge that we have to execute and prove to investors that we're going to deliver what we've indicated," Hughes said.

First Solar's stock has bucked the trend of a sector beset by falling share prices—its shares are up more than 68 percent this year and trading just shy of a 52-week high. Most publicly traded solar companies are China-based panel manufacturers suffering in sympathy with Suntech Power, which recently filed for bankruptcy.

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