EU ProSun claims PV duties will create jobs

As expected, Wednesday’s announcement that the EU Commission is planning to impose average anti-dumping (AD) duties of 47% on Chinese photovoltaic imports into the EU from June 6, has sparked a dichotomous debate within the solar industry.

EU ProSun, headed by SolarWorld AG, said in statement released today that EU anti-dumping duties will have a "clear positive effect on solar jobs and growth." The initiative said it has reached this conclusion based on a recent study conducted by Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC).

In its study, PwC criticized another study undertaken by Prognos – which was recently shared by the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE) and which says the AD duties will bring major job losses — by stating that it has "major flaws" in both its methodology and content, and that it presents "contradictory evidence."

Specifically, the Pwc study does not agree with the methodology and the assumptions Prognos used. It criticizes the fact that it expects a drop in demand for photovoltaic systems in Europe and that it presumes that this would "lead to the calculated job losses."

It added, "Prognos overestimates the demand effects because it performed a purely static analysis without taking into account any offsetting factors – like for example price reductions of complementary products, the endogenous character of feed-in tariffs or the reaction of Chinese competitors."

Milan Nitzschke, president of EU ProSun and SolarWorld executive board spokesperson added, "EU solar productions and transport costs are lower in China. Only anti-dumping measures can prevent the creation of a Chinese monopoly, which would lead to lower prices, less innovation and even further job losses in Europe."

EU ProSun further based its job growth conclusions on another independent study carried out in the U.S. in 2012, which concluded that after tariffs were introduced on photovoltaic products imported from China to the U.S. last year, "demand increased and 14,000 new solar jobs were created [in the U.S.]."

The U.S. study was carried out in 2012 for the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) – also established by SolarWorld – by the Brattle Group, Cambridge. The full findings from the PwC study can be found here.

Conversely, AFASE has spoken out against the implementation of AD tariffs. It has warned of severe damage in the EU PV market and job losses as a result of them. "Imposing provisional duties would be against Germany’s and the EU’s energy policies," Andrea Maibaum, AFASE spokesperson told pv magazine.

In response to these accusations and to the job loss calculations, Maibaum, added, "The results of the Prognos study are based on conservative calculations. Prognos included the direct and indirect job losses, thus taking into consideration the consequences the AD duties would have in the whole EU economic market, and not just the EU solar industry."

Maibaum also mentioned in the interview the fact that the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) has calculated that "throughout the PV value chain about 32-60 jobs are created within the EU per each MW of additionally installed capacity."

"Prognos’ study says that not more than 30 jobs will be lost per MW," Maibaum said.

AFASE is comprised of 469 solar companies. Among the most prominent members are Yingli Solar, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar, as well as Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG, SunEdison, Solartec, Gehrlicher Solar AG, Juwi Solar GmbH and Martifer Solar.