- A ‘perfect storm’ of market conditions has driven the price of solar imports to Europe down to record-lows. In recent months, prices have dropped by over 25%.
- SolarPower Europe has written to the European Commission warning that, without immediate action, European solar manufacturing companies face further announcements of insolvency.
- The sector proposes rapid solutions to the challenge, including emergency stock buyouts, an EU Solar Manufacturing Bank, ‘resilience auctions’ under the Net Zero Industry Act, and accelerating market uptake solar PV’s independent sustainability assurance scheme – the Solar Stewardship Initiative.
BRUSSELS, Belgium (Monday 11th September 2023): Record-low prices of solar imports risk damaging the EU’s open strategic autonomy goals, SolarPower Europe warns today in a letter to the European Commission.
Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe (she/her); “While price drops are typically welcome news, if unchecked they have serious repercussions for our open strategic autonomy. In the short term, this is already posing real challenges to domestic competitiveness and the rebirth of EU solar manufacturing. We’re urgently calling on EU leaders to save Europe’s strategic tech supply lines.”
A ‘perfect storm’ of market forces, not unusual in commodities, has driven prices down by more than 25%. Module prices have hit the record-low of less than 0.15 EUR/W for low-cost products, now even submerging pre-Covid levels, making it extremely difficult for European manufacturing companies to sell their products. The news comes soon after Norwegian Crystals, one of the continent’s enduring ingot manufacturers, filed for bankruptcy.
The combination of strong global demand signals and fierce competition between Chinese suppliers, has led to significant rates of new investment in solar PV supply chains. The resulting oversupply has led to quickly dropping prices for raw materials like silicon, down the supply chain to modules, inverters, and batteries. Further analysis is available in a supporting report.
The current situation is exacerbated by a slight, temporary, slowing down of the European solar market in Q3, linked to inflation and tightening bottlenecks around grid connections and project permitting.
SolarPower Europe is urgently calling on the European Commision to take decisive action, such as:
- Swift emergency acquisition of European PV manufacturer’s module inventories.
- Establishing a Solar Manufacturing Bank at EU level.
- Address the inadequacies of the Temporary Transition and Crisis Framework (TCTF) for State Aid, in particular point 86.
- Accelerate the adoption of the Net Zero Industry Act, including strong sustainability and resilience criteria in specific auctions.
- Advance the intended impact of the EU Forced Labour Regulation by backing the Solar Stewardship Initiative (SSI).
- Enable collaboration between Member States support programmes.
- Balance oversupply with a further boost demand for solar PV in Europe e.g. through the European Performance of Building Directive.
Hemetsberger continues, “This is a rare second chance. Europe’s original solar manufacturing base was lost a decade ago. If we don’t respond rapidly and appropriately to this price crisis, we’re looking at another wave of bankruptcies, and a false start for EU's open strategic autonomy agenda.”
SolarPower Europe and its members are available for further comment on the story. Please get in touch using the details below.
© Enel Green Power