Solar Trade War 2.0: China vs. Europe 0

The solar trade war — and its long tail of unintended consequences — is making its way to Europe.

Solar-panel manufacturers in Europe have just made a long-anticipated formal trade filing against their competitors in China, according to a report in the WSJ.

The complaint was filed with the European Commission, the European Union’s lead trade body, and like Germany’s SolarWorld complaint in the U.S., it accuses China’s solar panel manufacturers like Suntech, Yingli, and Trina of dumping their products in the EU at prices below their cost. There is a long list of European (centrotherm, Q-Cells, Soltecture, Odersun, Inventux, Solar Millennium, solarhybrid, and Sovello) and American solar manufacturers that have declared some measure of insolvency due to the onslaught of low-cost Chinese solar panels.

SolarWorld has indicated that it has not yet filed a case in Brussels. Bloomberg reports that SolarWorld “is preparing to file an anti-dumping complaint with the European Commission against Chinese manufacturers,” adding that “SolarWorld wouldn’t say when it may formally file the complaint.” SolarWorld issued this statement: “We have always said that we will ask the European Union to take urgent action against unfair competition from Chinese solar manufacturers. We can confirm that SolarWorld is working together with leading European manufacturers to urge the European Commission to act. We will not reveal any specific dates; however, the European industry initiative will communicate its intentions in the coming days.”

Details on the filing process and timing and whether this addresses cells or panels are not yet clear, and we will report on this as soon as we get the particulars.

CASE has this comment: “Today, Germany-based SolarWorld has once again demonstrated that it is willing to undermine the world’s solar industry in a desperate effort to avoid competition in the marketplace. The entire global solar industry — manufacturers, suppliers, installers and consumers — has benefited from the sharp decline in the price of solar cells, and our industry’s future success is predicated on our ability to continually improve the economics of solar electricity generation. SolarWorld desperately needs that trend to halt to remain competitive. Like a crazed agent provocateur, SolarWorld is fueling global solar industry infighting for its own selfish interest. On behalf of tens of thousands of U.S. solar workers, we are very disheartened by SolarWorld’s unnecessary and destructive actions and urge the EU to reject their petition.”

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