EU Dumps Solar Panel Anti-Dumping Measures

In just a couple of hours from now, the European Union’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on solar panels from China will expire and will not be renewed.

After being in place for nearly 5 years, the measures are set to expire at midnight September 3 local time (2200 GMT).

The situation evolved from a complaint back in 2012 requesting the European Union investigate allegations of dumping by Chinese solar firms.

The measures were first imposed in December 2013. A non-EU company was considered to be ‘dumping’ if it was exporting solar panels into the EU at a price lower than the normal value of the product. Measures also applied to non-EU companies receiving what the EU considered unfair subsidies that would distort the local market, creating unfair competition.

The measures were welcomed by EU manufacturers, but were also seen as a barrier to solar power uptake in Europe.

“After considering the needs of both producers and those using or importing solar panels the Commission decided it was in the best interests of the EU as a whole to let the measures lapse,” said the European Commission late last week. “This decision also takes into account the EU’s new renewable energy targets.”

The EU’s Renewable energy directive sets a binding target of 20% final energy consumption from renewables by 2020. In June this year, the Commission, Parliament and Council reached an agreement that includes a binding renewable energy target  for 2030 of 32%. It may be even higher, with the agreement containing a clause for an upwards revision by 2023.

In 2016, the estimated share of renewable energy in the EU’s gross final energy consumption was 17%.

“Unleashing A New Solar Age”

SolarPower Europe welcomed the announcement.

“This is a watershed moment for the European solar industry,” said the organisation’s president, Dr Christian Westermeier. “By removing the trade duties, the European Commission has today lifted the single biggest barrier to solar growth in Europe.”

The expiry of the minimum import price (MIP) is expected to have a marked effect on solar panel prices in the EU – and very soon.

IHS Markit told PV Magazine the firm expects the cost of solar panels in Europe to drop by as much as 30% for new contracts in the weeks ahead.

Not everyone is happy though, nor agrees removal of the measures will directly boost the EU’s solar capacity, or will it see such a drastic reduction in prices – other reactions to the announcement can be viewed on PV-Tech.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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