EU ProSun to Protect European Solar PV

by Sara Pernas

A group of more than 20 European companies representing the majority of EU solar PV production launched yesterday a new platform to complain of unfair Chinese practices in the solar market.

EU ProSun is a new Sustainable Solar Energy Initiative to maintain a sustainable and vibrant solar manufacturing base in Europe that aims to call on the European Commission in order to investigate unfair trade practices by Chinese manufacturers.

Milan Nitzschke, President of EU ProSun commented: “We strongly believe in Europe’s solar future. (..) Chinese companies have captured over 80% of the EU market for solar products from virtually zero only a few years ago. EU manufacturers have the world’s best solar technologies but are beaten in their home market due to illegal dumping of Chinese solar products below their cost of production.

The US Government recently determined that 12 categories of Chinese subsidies for its solar manufacturers were illegal, and that Chinese exporters have dumped solar cells in the USA at margins between 30% and 250%. Nitzschke said “Not only is China clearly dumping cheap solar products in the EU but the government readily admits to subsidising its solar manufacturers for exports. China has no natural cost advantage over the EU given labour accounts for around 10% of production costs, and it must import raw materials and equipment to produce their solar cells and modules.” It’s said the Chinese government has provided its solar manufacturers with more than €25 billion of subsidies including low interest loans, free land, and subsidised energy.

Chinese Solar Modules Overcapacity in 2011 - EUProSun via Goldman Sachs, Europressedienst

Chinese Solar Modules Overcapacity in 2011 - EUProSun via Goldman Sachs, Europressedienst

A recent study by AT Kearney showed that solar system prices could decline by 50% across the EU by 2020. Over the last 20 years the price of solar modules decreased by over 20% every time the volume of solar modules doubled. As the price of solar installation continues to decline sustainably, EU ProSun expects demand and local installation jobs to increase accordingly. Nitzschke concluded: “European industry does not want to increase prices (…). If the EU acts quickly, we have a chance to maintain a sustainable solar manufacturing base in Europe for the benefit of jobs, growth, innovation and the planet.

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