And so the trade wars continue. The new initiative has been launched today, February 5, by Germany-based GMB Glasmanufaktur Brandenburg GmbH. It is said to represent 50% of European solar glass production. The aim is to stem the amount of solar glass being "dumped" on the European market by Chinese manufacturers.
A spokesperson for EU ProSun Glass told pv magazine that SolarWorld (and EU ProSun) is not involved in the action, which has taken its name from the EU ProSun initiative launched by SolarWorld last July against photovoltaic module exports from China to Europe. Both SolarWorld and EU ProSun do, however, support the cause.
In response to why the anti-dumping complaints have been filed now, the spokesperson explained that Chinese exports of solar glass to Europe have "drastically" increased in the last six months. Meanwhile, price decreases have been "incredible". They added that in the last year, Chinese manufacturers have lowered their solar glass price by between 20 and 30%. Meanwhile, their European market share has increased from 7 to 27% since 2010.
In a statement released, EU ProSun Glass said that while demand in Europe for solar glass has only increased by 5% since 2010, Chinese imports have more than tripled. Furthermore, it claims that Chinese manufacturers have a solar glass production capacity of 400 million square meters, with excess capacity more than eight times that of European consumption.
President Ulrich Frei commented, "To make some use of this incredible overcapacity, Chinese producers are dumping their solar glass on the EU market at prices which do not even cover the costs of the raw materials.
"Of course, this means that the Chinese producers are incurring heavy losses on their sales of solar glass, but these are apparently covered by the Chinese government. European solar glass factories, on the other hand, have to follow market economy rules and are being seriously injured by the unfair competition from business rivals in China who have the seemingly endless financial support of their government."
Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE) spokesperson, Till Richter of Germany-based Richter Solar has condemned the action, stating that tariffs will both serve to dampen demand and lead to price increases.
"Solar energy is playing an important role in enabling the EU to meet its climate change goals. However, for solar energy to be able to compete with traditional energy sources, the cost efficiency of solar energy must continue to rise. Any increase in costs will thus endanger the aim of grid parity which is already within grasp in several European member states," he said.