July 27 (Reuters) - First Solar Inc on Thursday reported quarterly profit and sales that topped Wall Street estimates and raised its revenue and earnings outlook for the year due to lower costs, strong demand for its solar products and systems and a tax benefit.
The U.S. solar panel maker and project developer posted a second-quarter net profit of $52 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $11.4 million, or 11 cents per share, a year ago.
Excluding one-time items, Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar earned 64 cents a share. On that basis, Wall Street analysts had been expecting a profit of 60 cents per share, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net sales were $623.3 million, down from $1.02 billion last year due to lower system sales. Analysts had been expecting sales of $556.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
First Solar shares closed at $44.81 on Thursday on the Nasdaq. The company's stock has gained 75 percent since hitting a 52-week low of $25.56 in April. (Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Dan Grebler)