Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Cota, A., Mauk, N., Pelster, S., Schoenfelder, K., & Waring, E. 2024. First Solar Strategic Audit. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska- Lincoln.


Copyright Abigail Cota, Nolan Mauk, Sydney Pelster, Katherine Schoenfelder, Eli Warning 2024.


This case study explores First Solar, a global leader in the photovoltaic solar module industry. Using strategic management strategies and principles, we have curated a strategic audit to analyze the company’s competitive position. We used First Solar’s publications and website as well as general articles on the solar industry, analyst findings, and additional public findings as the basis of our analysis. Overall, our goal was to apply the learned strategic management concepts to a complex organization and identify First Solar’s potential competitive advantages.

We looked at many factors for First Solar, including firm analysis, industry analysis, external analysis, internal analysis, performance analysis, competitive dynamics, business level strategy, corporate level strategy, and strategic decision making. From this information, we compiled a comprehensive strategic analysis focused on First Solar’s operation within the solar industry. Within this analysis, we dove into the strengths and weaknesses of the company within the industry at large and more specifically compared to one of their largest competitors, Canadian Solar.

Through our audit, we have found that First Solar is in a strong position compared to the industry currently, but must continue its pursuit of innovation and excellence in order to maintain its position. Recent decisions, including expansion into Louisiana, showcase their understanding of this reality. If First Solar continues on this path of adaptation and alignment with the industry, we believe their competencies and strengths will allow them to excel.