A consortium of over 20 European companies in the solar industry, has officially asked the European Commission to investigate trade practices deemed unfair by Chinese manufacturers.
Named EU Prosun, the group claims to defend the interests of sustainable industry and represents the largest share of industrial production of solar products in the European Union.
“We firmly believe in the future of solar energy in Europe. That’s why this week we officially ask the European Commission to conduct an investigation into the marketing practices of Chinese manufacturers of solar products, “said Milan Nitzschke, President of EU Prosun and Vice President of SolarWorld.
“Chinese companies have cornered over 80% of European market for solar products in only a few years. European manufacturers offer the best technologies of solar products in the world, but they undergo a very fierce competition in their domestic market due to dumping of Chinese solar products sold at a price below their cost of production “continued Milan Nitzschke.
“This industry is of strategic importance for the future of Europe and is decimated by unfair competition from China, leading business bankruptcies of European solar products. If the EU does not understand this problem, there will be no business or research and development in the field of solar energy in Europe. Not only it is clear that China is flooding the European Union with cheap solar products, but the government admits it already subsidizes its manufacturers to export. China enjoys a natural advantage over the European Union since labor represents about 10% of production costs as well as the import raw materials and equipment to produce its solar cells and its modules “said Milan Nitzschke.
“The United States has recently determined that at least 12 categories of Chinese government subsidies to its manufacturers of solar products were illegal and Chinese exporters have flooded the U.S. market for solar cells receiving margins ranging from 30 to 250% . The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the subsidies the Chinese government with respect to its manufacturers of solar products amounted to over 25 billion euros and include low interest loans, free land and energy subsidies. Decisions of the United States confirms unfair trade practices of China and increase the likelihood of significant economic retaliation in the European Union, especially when considering that the measures taken by the United States will promote the postponement of Chinese exports to the European Union, “said Milan Nitzschke
Furthermore, any measures to rebalance equal opportunities in the European Union can not slow the falling prices of solar modules in the long run. A recent study by AT Kearney said that the price of solar energy systems could fall 50% in the EU by 2020. Over the past 20 years, the price of solar modules has dropped by more than 20% and the production volume has doubled. As the price of solar continues to fall, the demand and jobs associated with local facilities should increase accordingly.
“European industry is not seeking to raise prices, but rather to stop a disastrous race that will take us to our downfall. If the EU acts quickly, we still have a chance to maintain a sustainable production of solar modules in Europe, a database that will be conducive to employment, growth, innovation and the planet, “concludes Milan Nitzschke.