Solar panel maker First Solar Inc. posted a quarterly profit Wednesday, compared with a year-earlier loss, helped by revenue from the sale of a large California solar power plant to Southern Co.

The company also said it has appointed Chief Financial Officer Mark Widmar as its new chief executive officer. He will succeed James Hughes, who plans to step down effective June 30.

The solar panel maker reported a net profit of $170.6 million, or $1.66 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $60.9 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose nearly 81 percent to $848.5 million.

The report comes days after SunEdison Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection. Once the fastest-growing U.S. renewable energy company, SunEdison filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a short-lived but aggressive binge of debt-fueled acquisitions proved unsustainable.

In its bankruptcy filing, the company said it had assets of $20.7 billion and liabilities of $16.1 billion as of Sept. 30.

SunEdison's two publicly traded subsidiaries, TerraForm Power Inc. and TerraForm Global Inc., are not part of the bankruptcy. In a statement, the companies, known as yieldcos, said they had sufficient liquidity to operate and that their assets are not available to satisfy the claims of SunEdison creditors.

Data from Reuters were used to report this story.