According to information relayed to pv magazine, minimum prices set by the EU for crystalline solar modules from China are to fall from 0.56 to 0.53 euros per watt by April 1, which would be a boon for the internal rate of return (IRR) for PV projects. EU Prosun sees no grounds for the price reduction and intends to appeal to the European Court of Justice.
In remarking on the reduction, EU Trade Commissioner John Clancy told pv magazine: "As part of the agreement of the undertaking from August 2013, the development of the minimum price would be reviewed every three months and the import volume every year according to market developments of international spot prices and consumption in the EU respectively.
"Any change to the minimum price or import volume only affects modules and cells, as wafers have been excluded from the measures since December 2013."
Fixed import volumes would also be reviewed annually on the basis of demand in Europe. Under the agreement, the solar module price index compiled by Bloomberg is used to assess price developments. However, this index is not freely available. Enquiries from pv magazine to Bloomberg this week remained unanswered, while the EU's John Clancy could only reiterate that the "Bloomberg database is used to establish a change in price levels."
Since the agreement in the photovoltaic trade dispute between the EU and China on the minimum prices and import restrictions at the end of last year, prices for solar modules have remained largely stable.
EU Prosun, the association administrated by SolarWorld and responsible for putting anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against Chinese manufacturers in the EU in motion, would accept the situation should the EU really lower the minimum prices.
"Were that to come about on April 1, it would set us up nicely for our lawsuit against the minimum price ruling for the EU and China," said Milan Nitzschke, President of EU Prosun. "Because the adjustment rule provides that the minimum price can only be reduced if international prices, as measured by the Bloomberg index, have fallen. But this index has been stable since the beginning of the undertaking. Consequently, there is no legal recourse for an adjustment. But the Chinese Premier is once again in Europe. So one must always expect surprises."
Earlier today news filtered through that China's exports of crystalline photovoltaic products to Europe have fallen sharply. The proceeds from exported solar cells and solar modules to Europe declined last year by 62% to $3.7 billion, according to figures released by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic products.
Article translated by Kevin Campbell.
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