EU 'starts register' of Chinese PV

EU countries have in principle agreed to begin registering PV modules imported from China, according to a press report, which may signal a broader acceptance of anti-dumping or countervailing duties among member states. 

The report, which comes from Reuters and is attributed to anonymous “diplomatic” sources, does not indicate when such registration would begin. The registration of Chinese panels – an idea apparently put forward by the European Commission – would allow for the retroactive imposition of duties. 

The Commission does not need the backing of member states to impose such a registration requirement. However, their formal consent would be taken as a blow against Chinese suppliers, which are lobbying hard to avoid anti-dumping and countervailing duties such as those implemented in the US last year.

Last year the Commission officially took up separate investigations into the anti-dumping and illegal subsidies claims made by some European PV manufacturers, with a final ruling expected later this year.

A report published earlier this week claimed that as many as 242,000 jobs would be lost across the EU if a 60% tariff was slapped on Chinese PV kit, or 115,000 jobs with a 20% tariff. The report was commissioned by the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE), an anti-duty lobbying group supported by Chinese suppliers and many Europe-based installers and developers.

AFASE acknowledges that some European jobs may be created on the upstream manufacturing end if tariffs are applied. But it argues that far more jobs would be destroyed downstream due to more expensive solar panels, while also slowing the pace of PV penetration across the European energy system.

EU ProSun, the pro-duty lobby group spearheaded by SolarWorld, dismissed the “Chinese funded” report as “cynical”, countering that the US industry does not seem to have suffered from the tariffs. 

EU ProSun Glass, which claims not to be affiliated with EU ProSun, has also filed its own anti-dumping complaint with the Commission against Chinese solar glass exporters. That group is led by GMB Glasmanufaktur Brandenburg.