Renaissance of European solar manufacturing. On behalf of the SolarPower Europe Board, the secretariat has issued the following joint statement. This follows reports of European governments considering the application of trade barriers to solar PV products entering the single market.
This statement was issued during the quarterly meeting of the SolarPower Europe Board in Brussels, and can be attributed to SolarPower Europe Board of Directors: “Right now, a perfect storm is hitting the solar PV market. A combination of market dynamics leading to overcapacity on the supply side, and overordering on the demand side during the last years, has, in turn, resulted in sharp drops in price of solar modules and other system components.
The situation only adds to the critical urgency for the EU to develop and implement a strong and credible industrial strategy for solar PV.”
The balanced solutions are there, and are crystal clear:
– Adjust the EU State Aid framework (the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework) to allow Member States to support running costs of factories – i.e. opex
– Allow for specific resilience auctions within Member States under a swiftly-adopted EU Net-Zero Industry Act
– Set up an EU-level financing instrument dedicated to European produced solar PV, like a Solar Manufacturing Bank
With the right political will, all these points can be implemented in a matter of weeks
In the emergency we find ourselves in, we have limited time to act. We urge EU leaders to spend this time focusing on these constructive solutions. We cannot risk slowing down the solar-led energy transition at this critical moment in time.
Trade barriers are not the solution
As history has shown, investigating and implementing trade barriers on solar is the ultimate lose-lose strategy for Europe.
The better strategy is to reward the European solar industry for the swift feat of strength they are prepared to deliver for Europe: A more resilient and less geopolitically dependent energy system, in line with the European Commission’s stated goals.”
Aristotelis Chantavas, President of SolarPower Europe, said: “We need diverse, sustainable and resilient solar supply chains. Trade barriers are not the way to do that. We urge EU leaders to deliver and implement an industrial strategy for solar, as clear, and ambitious as the US IRA. There are balanced, effective measures ready to go.”
Gunter Erfurt, Board Director at SolarPower Europe, said: “Tariffs are not a good answer to the current challenges in the European solar industry, there are better and especially faster instruments for the development of European solar production: Instead of sanctioning the entire industry through tariffs, we must incentivize solar installations that originate from resilient European solar production. This way, the deployment of solar energy can continue undisturbed while the European solar manufacturing can grow steadily. In the coming weeks, the EU has the chance to implement the basic principles of this resilience system in its planned Net Zero Industry Act.”
This statement follows SolarPower Europe’s related letter on record low solar PV prices, addressed to the leaders of the EU Institutions and dated 11 September 2023.
SolarPower Europe is the award-winning link between policymakers and the solar PV value chain. Our mission is to ensure solar becomes Europe’s leading energy source by 2030. As the member-led association for the European solar PV sector, SolarPower Europe represents over 300 organisations across the entire solar sector. With solar sitting on the horizon of unprecedented expansion, we work together with our members to create the necessary regulatory and business environment to take solar to the next level.