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NGOs, installers enter row on EU PV anti-dumping measures

Green NGOs and installers have entered opposite positions in a heated debate on the continuation of a minimum-import price (MIP) and anti-dumping measures against Chinese PV kit imposed by the European Union.

Following a push by 403 companies across the EU and a letter by SolarPower Europe to European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström to end the measures, five environmental groups – among them Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund - in an open letter have also written a letter to Malmström with the same purpose.

“Solar power is one of the key technologies that the European Union needs to effectively decarbonise and meet its Paris Agreement commitments,” the NGOs said.

“ We are therefore concerned that the current tariffs on imported solar panels are making solar power more expensive and slowing down the deployment of solar power in Europe.“

To reach the EU’s target of 27% of energy to come from renewables by 2030, implies to reach a PV expansion growth rate in high double digits, which could be more difficult to achieve with trade restrictions, the NGO’s argue.

At the same time, pro-anti-dumping measure group EU Pro Sun submitted a list of 150 installers to the European Commission that expressly support the extension of the measures.

"As installers, we know that quality and reliability are of crucial importance for our customers", says Johan Beijert of Zon & Co in the Netherlands.

"In the interest of a sustainable PV market in the EU, the distorting effects of dumping and subsidies must cease."

EU Pro Sun in its note apart from Zon & Co didn't give the names of the other 149 installers, though.

Presenting installers that are in favour of the measures was an unexpected move by EU Pro Sun, as installers previously mostly had sided with SPE in its fight for a lifting of the EU’s MIP and anti-dumping levies.

Europe's solar sector is deeply divided on the anti-dumping issue, with many of the remaining panel manufacturers, led by Germany's SolarWorld and EU ProSun, favouring measures against Chinese products, while project developers and equipment makers, like the SPE and hitherto also most installers oppose them.

The European Commission currently is carrying out an ‘expiry review’ and it must decide on scrapping or continuing the anti-dumping measures by March 7 next year, but according to observers may take a decision before year-end already.

The pressure from Chinese products pushing into the EU market according to industry experts has increased after China has curbed licenses for new PV installations at home until year-end due to grid bottlenecks after the country already has overshot its 18.1GW expansion target for 2016.China according to local media also mulls steep cuts to solar support next year.

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