Brussels, 20 July 2017 – Late yesterday evening, the European Commission set out a proposal for a new mechanism for controlling the price of solar panels and cells imported to the European Union from China. The products’ prices had previously been governed by a minimum import price (MIP) system that the European Commission acknowledges had failed. The new system was intended to address that failure.
Commenting on the new proposal, Dr Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe, stated ‘This proposal from DG Trade looks to divorce the price of solar panels from reality. The European Commission clearly states that market prices recorded in Q1 2017 will
only be reached in the EU in September 2018. This implies a full time lag of 1,5 years for European companies to benefit from the true market price of solar. What is even worse, is that the MIP level proposed for July 2018 is still well above today’s world market prices in USD/Watt. This is not the way to bring the energy transition in a cost effective manner to the citizens of Europe.’
James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe added ‘The European Commission is trying to miss another opportunity to bring solar prices in Europe closer to global market prices with this proposal. It is positive that they recognise a difference in price between multi-and mono crystalline panels and cells in the new proposal, but this progress is entirely undone by keeping the prices of these products artificially high by not basing the new system on an active market index.’
The new proposal includes a price schedule that will control the prices of panels and cells on the European market over the next 14 months or so, describing by how much and when prices will drop. Dr Christian Westermeier commented ‘This does not help the solar sector in Europe. Companies might wait a month or two for the new lower price to come into effect before realising a project. The Commission proposal could really slow all investment in solar in Europe, as companies could be tempted to keep waiting until the end of the measures before making an investment. It is difficult to understand the Commission’s decision to disregard market prices.’
Parties with an interest in the case have until 2nd August to make their comments on the
proposed new system to the European Commission.