European Photovoltaic Installers Divided On Chinese Solar Tariffs


Fewer than half – 44% – of PV installers based in Europe are in favor of anti-dumping tariffs placed on solar modules imported from China, according to a new survey conducted by Bonn, Germany-based market research firm EuPD Research. The survey included installers from Germany, Italy, the U.K. and France.

Following the filing of a complaint by industry coalition EU ProSun, the European Commission is currently investigating whether the Chinese government's support of its solar manufacturers is illegal. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, duties may be imposed on solar cells and/or modules imported from China. (In the U.S., the Department of Commerce voted to apply tariffs last month.)

Of the 875 installers surveyed by EuPD Research, more than 80% were aware of the case filed by European manufacturers and the subsequent process to examine subsidies.

Although 44% of installers said that, from their business perspective, they are in favor of countervailing duties for Chinese modules, an almost equally large proportion – 42% – said that they are not in favor of such intervention.

‘While those who favor countervailing duties argue in moral and normative terms, the majority of opponents cite economic reasons in their arguments,’ adds Markus Lohr, senior research analyst at EuPD Research.

‘Proponents of countervailing duties state their case with social working conditions and the adherence to a minimum wage,’ Lohr explains. ‘One respondent summarized his main argument against the duties as follows: 'It increases total systems prices and reduces profitability for customers, which means I simply sell less systems.'’

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