EU Commission Ceases Trade Defense Measures on Solar Panels From China

Energy & Infrastructure Alert | September.06.2018

As is well known by the market players, in December 2013 the European Union imposed definitive anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on Chinese photovoltaic products and components (Council Implementing Regulation EU 2013/1238).

The decision, sought by the European group of producers "EU ProSun", aimed to stop the downward spiral of solar panels prices and to find balance between the interest of users, producers and importers. The adopted measures were designed to preserve the European competitiveness in the sector by restricting imports of Chinese PV products; these, in effect, were deemed to be damaging European producers by undercutting them with unfairly low prices in order to increase Chinese importers' market shares in the EU.

Later, in March 2017, in view of the price development, the measures were extended only for 18 months (Commission Implementing Regulation EU 2017/366) as opposed to the usual five years.  

Following this, last Friday, 31 August 2018, the Commission communicated the decision not to renew the enactment, in light of the gradual alignment of Chinese prices to the market price; this choice was also made in line with the European strategic goal of increasing its supply of renewable energy. The measures, therefore, expired at midnight on Monday 3 September 2018.

With regard to the Italian solar energy market in particular, in which - despite the natural predisposition at country level - the grid parity struggles to take off due to the lack (i) of financial sustainability in terms of bankability and (ii) of long term PPA, the abolishment of such measures and the following reduction in prices will certainly boost the sector; a sector that – it is common knowledge – is part and parcel of the investment strategies of big players, including public utilities and infrastructure funds which aim to play a pivotal role in the economy of the country, also in line with our Energy agenda.