ReneSola to exit European minimum price

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On Monday pv magazine learned that the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate General for Trade had recommended that ReneSola, Canadian Solar and ET Solar be excluded from the MIP agreement due to what it adjudged were breaches of the price framework. ReneSola has responded in a letter to customers that it has taken the decision to “exit from the MIP list.”

ReneSola cites the EC decision that OEM modules cannot be sold under the MIP agreement as the reason for its decision to exit the MIP. ReneSolar posits that the EC has made the decision that that OEM modules should be excluded from the MIP as it is impracticable for it to monitor compliance, given the at times complicated nature of OEM relationships.

“Following our exit from MIP,” wrote ReneSola CEO Xianshou Li in a letter to customers, “our primary focus will be on our OEM manufacturing, improving quality, performance and cost. As we will no longer be subject to the EU Commission’s review, customers will not be implicated in any investigation by the EU Commission regarding the purchase of our products.”

The ReneSola CEO said this would mean the company can “reduce unnecessary inconveniences and uncertainty” and serve the “best interests” of its customers.

To trade in Europe, ReneSola will now presumably be required to pay EU anti-dumping duties on modules that it ships from China or assembles outside of the EU. The average duty on Chinese producers is approximately 47%. Renesola may continue to supply the EU from modules it assembles at its facility in Poland, using Taiwanese cells*.

Analysts at IHS have responded to the EC preliminary finding of MIP breaches by saying that it would be “extremely damaging to the companies’ substantial export business.”

“Whilst it should be noted that the allegations against these three companies have not been confirmed, it does highlight the rumors and accusations that have surrounded the industry for some time, that Chinese suppliers would be able to circumvent — either fairly or unfairly — the European Commission’s measures to support minimum import pricing of PV modules,” IHS senior solar analyst Ash Sharma told pv magazine.

While the preliminary EC ruling document makes it clear that Chinese manufacturers outside of the three mentioned as having breached the agreement are not affected by the findings, ReneSola’s response indicates that other Chinese manufacturers may encounter similar difficulties. OEM manufacturing and the sourcing of cells from producers outside of China and Taiwan is commonplace in the supply to Europe by Chinese manufacturers.

In a media statement issued today, ReneSola contends that it has "fully complied" with the MIP agreement. It indicates that it will "address any concerns or misunderstanding" with the EC. In the statement CEO Xianshou Li notes that MIP shipments to Europe "represent a small percentage of our total module shipments and have no significant impact on our ability to service our European customers, or on our 2015 forecast." ReneSola will look to expand its "solar project initiatives in Europe."

pv magazine has requested Canadian Solar provide a clarification as to its position regarding the MIP.

*This article was changed at 14:20 CET (March 11) to include information regarding ReneSola’s Polish module assembly operations.

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