Talking point

Two pieces of news affecting Chinese PV module imports into Europe are poised to have a knock-on effect on the UK PV market in the months to come, argues Liz MacFarlane, Zenex Solar

First was the news that three Chinese companies (Renesola, Canadian Solar and ET Solar) faced being excluded from the Minimum Import Price (MIP) agreement, due to alleged serious contravention of its rules around importing PV from China into Europe. Renesola immediately announced its departure from the undertaking.

The effect this will have on the market is as yet unclear, but given similar experience in the past, then surely this will restrict supply in to the UK. Just what we need as the nation continues to embrace PV.

This news was closely followed by an industry buzz that the MIP itself is to increase from April 01, meaning that Chinese PV manufacturers committed to the agreement will have to sell their solar modules for EUR 0.56 per watt in the EU.

The weak exchange rate of the euro against the US dollar has been cited as the reason behind the increase.

So what does this all mean? Well, three large manufacturers potentially stepping aside from the MIP undertaking seems likely to have an effect on the amount of product available to the UK, and therefore also an increase in price as demand outweighs supply.

Any increases in MIP and decreases in FiT always lead to a scramble for product, adding a further burden to the issues around demand and supply.

So my suggestion?  Make sure that as an installer you choose your product wisely. If you make sure you are choosing a brand that has always adhered to the MIP regulations and that has strong consistent supply, then you won’t go far wrong.