"I am certainly not the solar industry gravedigger," says Asbeck


Frank Asbeck has stepped forward to defend the actions of his company against the dumping of Chinese PV manufacturers. Dumping, according to Asbeck, is apparently the reason why the German PV market has shrivelled up. "Chinese manufacturers have, with the help of government loans and subsidies, brought modules that are far below production costs into Europe. As a result, a gigantic bubble has emerged and consequently, forced policies to move towards cutting subsidies abruptly. Then came the crash. I am certainly not the gravedigger of the solar industry, but if anything the gravedigger for unfair trade practices," Asbeck told German newspaper the "Handelsblatt" (Tuesday edition).

Asbeck remains positive that despite emergent resistance against the anti-dumping undertakings, the minimum import prices will apply beyond December. "The EU Commission has extensively investigated and concluded that the Chinese have indeed been dumping. Until today nothing has changed in this sense. To compensate for this anti-competitive behaviour, the EU anti-dumping measures were introduced," Asbeck elaborated further.

Not just dumping, but also German policies are to blame for the PV market collapse according to Asbeck. How politics react to such situations also make the crucial difference. And this is why the U.S. market is booming even though the import duties on Chinese PV manufacturers are higher there. In Germany, the market has fallen flat. "Unlike in Germany, PV is not just discussed to its death by politicians, but seen as a true chance to become independent of energy imports. Self-generation is politically desired and there are no tax burdens as in Germany," Asbeck continued comparing the two countries.

Asbeck highlighted that there are subsidies for renewable energies in Germany. This was necessary as renewables had to and have to compete with other fuel sources that have been subsidized for decades, and still today. Solar energy has reached cost levels of electricity generated by gas-fired plants, and in some regions of the world, PV is already a real cost-effective source. Asbeck is convinced that the cost reductions will continue, albeit slower than in the past. "State-financed dumping from China is not the yardstick, but rather a price which reflects the real costs for production, material, workmanship and R&D. The price will continue to fall with the pace of technological advancement."

Translated and edited by Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger