Over 420 European organisations warn of irresponsible trade defence measures on solar products

SolarPower Europe Press Release

29 November 2023

  • In a joint statement, 433 European solar companies and associations warn that trade measures would injure the EU solar sector to the detriment of the EU’s green energy transition at a critical moment in time.   
  • The European solar associations on national level who have signed the joint statement represent a further 6000 solar organisations. 
  • With the entry into force of trade defence measures, almost 400,000 European jobs would be foregone, representing half of the continent’s current solar workforce. 
  • Right now, Europe produces less than 3% of the solar panels needed to meet the annual average target to hit our 2030 solar deployment goals. Considering trade investigations threatens Europe’s most promising path to rapid decarbonisation of energy, keeping the door to a 1.5 C climate-safe world open ahead of COP 28.  
  • Alongside the joint statement, SolarPower Europe have sent a letter to EU leaders to warn of trade measures. The letter advises that Europe’s solar manufacturing goals are within reach with proper industrial policy and effective market access standards, like the Forced Labour Ban or Ecodesign rules. 



BRUSSELS, Belgium (Wednesday 29th November 2023): Europe’s climate and energy security targets are being put at risk by the irresponsible consideration of trade defence measures on solar products. Ahead of a high-level European Solar PV Industrial Alliance meeting with Commissioner Thierry Breton, 429 European solar companies have joined a call to EU authorities to take trade defence measures off the table.  


Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe said: “We are aghast at the rumours that a trade defence investigation could be launched into solar. This is an affront to the clear messages that the solar sector has repeatedly set out. We have better, faster, and more effective solutions for the crisis that European manufacturers face. Europe must not betray its climate and energy security targets.” 


The joint statement warns that trade defence measures would negatively impact European employment and put many local, green, jobs at risk. Should trade defence measures be investigated next year, and implemented in 2025, our latest analysis suggests a drop from 890,000 to 655,000 jobs in 2024, and down to less than 600,000 in 2025. 


In SolarPower Europe’s accompanying high-level letter to European leaders, the association reminds policymakers of current solar manufacturing landscape in Europe. Less than 3% (1.5 GW) of expected Europe’s solar deployment – 54 GW – can be fully made in Europe today. 


Trade measures have not worked in the past. The sector warns of the solar collapse in the 2010s. Only 5 years ago, anti-dumping and countervailing duties in place on solar panels imported from China, Taiwan, and Malaysia were abolished for good reason. These duties had negative consequences, which taught us a painful lesson. Solar jobs, project investment, and solar deployment severely declined during the period of application of these trade defence measures and led to an increase in costs to our customers and consumers, without bringing back Europe’s solar factories. 

Reiterating their consistent call for policymakers to support European solar manufacturing, SolarPower Europe’s letter urges EU leaders to:  


1. Consider state guarantees and credit lines for European solar PV manufacturers that are struggling to survive under the current challenging market conditions following decreases in prices of imported solar modules;  

2. Adjust and prolong the State Aid rules under the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework to also cover the running cost of factories (opex), and reduce complexity of access and implementation;  

3. Accompany national financing with an EU-level financial tool for solar manufacturing, like a Solar Manufacturing Bank, linked to the Innovation Fund or a new EU Sovereignty Fund. 


These industrial strategy solutions need to be accompanied with clear market access standards that reflect Europe’s ESG values. SolarPower Europe therefore continues to support the upcoming Ecodesign rules for solar PV, as well as the upcoming Forced Labour Ban and Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. 




  • Our 11 September press release, where we warn that without immediate action, European solar manufacturing companies face further announcements of insolvency.
  • A statement from our Board on 2 October, cautioning the discussion on trade barriers and plotting a way forward for European solar manufacturing. 
  • On 15 November, we also published a video statement, where SolarPower Europe Policy Director, Dries Acke, sets out our positions around European solar manufacturing.
  • SolarPower Europe's most recent statement, clarifying the differences between trade barriers and ESG-based market access criteria, can be found here.
Questions? Get in touch.

Bethany Meban
Head of Press and Policy Communications

+32 492 97 82 48
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