Sales for the quarter jumped to $957 million, up 80% from 2011.
Adjusted EPS, which excludes restructuring charges, was $1.65, easily topping the 94 cents Wall Street had anticipated, Bloomberg noted.
Investors liked the numbers. Shares of First Solar shot up more than 21% in early Thursday trading.
The maker of thin-film solar modules attributed its sales rise to corporate purchases of its utility-scale power systems. The company has shifted its focus from selling solar panels to developers and is concentrating on solar farm sales to corporate customers.
During the quarter, the company recognized revenue from earlier projects, including a 230-megawatt California solar farm sold to Exelon (NYSE:EXC) and a 50-megawatt project sold to Enbridge (NYSE:ENB).
Company officials said First Solar was in talks with a number of other companies for joint-venture agreements, potentially resulting in the sale of its power systems. It currently has projects with a total output of 2.9 gigawatts under development in Canada, the U.S. and Australia.
Analysts cited by Bloomberg were pleased by the results, but wondered if the company could sustain its project pipeline over coming quarters.
First Solar is part of InvestorPlace’s Real America Index, a list of companies — one from each state — whose performance provides a window on the health of the U.S. economy. First Solar represents the state of Arizona in the index.