European installers remain in favour of EU stance on Chinese PV imports

A survey of more than 500 companies across all 28 EU member states, reveals the majority of European solar installers are in favour of extending the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties that were introduced two years ago if the EU Commission´s investigations establish that Chinese producers still violate international trade law.

The poll found that most installers believe the cuts to the Feed-in-Tariff cuts, and not the duties, are seen as responsible for the EU market´s decline in recent years.

Almost 90 percent emphasize the importance of European products in competition. The telephone-based survey on behalf of the European solar producer initiative EU ProSun was conducted by Europressedienst.

Milan Nitzschke, president of EU ProSun: “We wanted to clarify whether the assertion made by the lobby organization of big Chinese producers and their importers is valid, that the European solar installers prefer a termination of the measures against Chinese solar dumping. The opposite is the case.

“The clear majority supports an extension of the duties and minimum import prices (MIP’s), which makes sense because they do not feel the measures have negatively affected their business. The enterprises apparently recognize the need for fair competition from their own experiences. No one wants to get pushed out of the market by unfair means.

“This same principle also has to apply for the benefit of the producing solar industry, in the interest of product variety, quality and research and development.”

European PV solar installers were not negatively affected by trade law developments, but rather by unstable political framework conditions. According to the installers, the cause of the slowdown in the EU solar market is the reduction of solar feed-in-tariffs. 88.8 percent of respondents agree with that assessment. Two-thirds of the respondents also name the taxation of self-consumed solar power as a cause of market decline. In case of an extension of the duties and the MIP on Chinese solar imports, which were implemented two years ago, about less than four percent of the installers expect cuts for their own enterprise.

Less than a quarter consider adjustments necessary, almost two-thirds of the installers have adapted to the market conditions and envisage no interferences for their business.

“The solar craft installers in Europe consider the availability of European products in the market to be of great value”, emphasizes Nitzschke. 88 percent of the respondents underline the importance of the European solar industry. The installers consider it important or very important that products from Europe and countries of origin other than China are available on the EU market. In Germany this aspect is underlined by 94.9 percent of the interviewees.
The Chinese producer´s low-cost offers result from lower regulatory requirements and government subsidies, as installers see it. On the other hand, production equipment and spending on research and development in China is seen as secondary by the respondents. Despite the introduction of the MIP’s and duties on Chinese modules and components in 2013, 60.7 percent of the solar installers have observed a solar module price reduction in the EU market.

524 installation enterprises from all 28 EU member states participated in the telephone-based survey which was conducted in May and June 2016. The participants serve market segments ranging from under 10 kWp up to over 1 MWp. Their installed power output adds up to eight percent of the European solar market in 2015.