EU solar antidumping case

Frankfurter Allgemeine reports on some reactions to the recent anti-dumping case Solarworld has filed with the European Union Commission.

Suntech Europe’s Jerry Stokes points out that increasing the cost of solar by introducing an anti-dumping duty will delay deployment of renewable energy by increasing costs.

He might have a point there. On the other hand, the review of the Commission will depend on other factors. The plaintiffs will have to show that Chinese makers sell their solar panels cheaper in the EU than on the domestic market. Dumping is not just selling cheaper than German producers (that’s just normal competition).

Or, alternatively, they would need to show that there are illegal subsidies involved. Not all subsidies are illegal under the WTO rules.

Actually, if the feed-in tariffs system works as it is supposed to, for the German market any rise in solar panel prices should be irrelevant. If prices rise substantially, so would the feed-in tariffs.

And the price of solar panels is less than half of the total installation cost (less than a quarter in the United States). Having those costs go up by 20% would only result in a 10% increase in total installation costs.

Therefore, I am not convinced that there will be ever so much of a delaying effect, even if an anti-dumping duty gets enacted.

But any delaying effect is most unwelcome.

Stokes also points out that reducing the pace of installations will also cost jobs in Europe.

Again, that is correct. If there is any reduction in installation, that will impact all jobs in installation and sales of solar panels.

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