STA Urges Government To “support free trade and tackle climate change”

The STA is very disappointed that the European Commission has proposed provisional duties on Chinese imported solar panels of between 37% and 67% [1]. The STA opposes the imposition of any duties which restrict free trade and the growth of the solar market.

STA CEO Paul Barwell said:

“These duties, if imposed, will damage the UK solar market, particularly the large scale ground-mount sector. It seems absurd that Commissioner De Gucht is supporting these proposals, when the duties will actually result in a net reduction in EU solar jobs, restrict the growth of the solar market, and damage Europe’s chances of meeting its 2020 renewable targets.

“Solar power has shown impressive cost reductions in recent years, enabling Government to set a pathway of gradually reducing subsidies. However, the cost increases resulting from these duties will throw the UK off course from its solar roadmap. We will continue lobbying DECC and BIS to ensure the UK votes ‘no’ to these proposed duties.”

Although the imposition of duties was not a complete surprise, the minimum proposed level of 37% has come as a shock. In many cases this will take Chinese panels above the price of European and Korean panels.

The STA believes the duties will also result in increasing the cost of non-Chinese solar panels, which will no longer need to compete on price with Chinese products. We are already seeing evidence of this as manufacturers attempt to capture a higher margin.

Paul Barwell continued:

“The Commission surely did not intend to cause the prices of non-Chinese panels to increase, but this is a commercial reality when a lower priced product is removed from the market.”

 The STA was encouraged to hear in the Queen’s Speech that the Government would use its upcoming presidency of the G8 to “support free trade… while continuing to make progress in tackling climate change”.

 Paul Barwell concluded:

 “This is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to both free trade and the environment by urging the other member states to vote ‘no’ to these duties. We ask Government to show strong leadership and avoid a very damaging precedent being set for other anti-dumping cases.

 “For our part, we will be working jointly with the 12 supporting European trade associations to put pressure on their respective governments to reject duties on behalf of all our solar members.”

 1.    This has been reported by several news agencies, and confirmed by sources close to the STA.

Tags: STA, Association News, solar industry news,