ProSun fails to replace Bloomberg benchmark in MIP determination

The EC will continue to use the Bloomberg benchmark database in its determination of the solar MIP. EU ProSun had contended that as the Bloomberg index includes a large and increasing number of Chinese module suppliers, which generally sell at prices lower than manufactures outside of China, that it was no longer a representative sample.

The EC did not accept EU ProSun’s argument and has terminated its review into the use of the Bloomberg benchmark in determining the MIP.

“The existing benchmark remains representative of the development of worldwide module prices because it includes prices submitted by Chinese respondents,” the EU found and communicated its Official Journal publication. “The proportion of Chinese respondents in the existing benchmark has increased to a level better reflecting the share of Chinese producers in the world solar market.”

The EU investigation into whether the Bloomberg benchmark should continue to be used found that prices for both Chinese and non-Chinese module suppliers had fallen “following a similar trend” meaning that the benchmark remains representative.

“Both sub-series [Chinese and international prices] have developed following a similar trend,… the ‘Chinese average” has not fallen above the ‘International Average’.

EU ProSun spokesman, and SolarWorld Vice Presdient, Milan Nitzschke slammed the EC finding, saying the EC’s reasoning “would flunk any statistics class.”

“This [finding] is unfortunate, but given the numerous irrationalities in connection with the minimum price rules it is not surprising,” said Nitzschke.

“A fundamental rule in the application of an index is to maintain the population,” Nitzschke continued. “As the market reality depicted has not changed, the population used for the index must not be changed, without an adjustment calculation being performed.”

The MIP is expected to remain in place on Chinese PV imports into the EU for approximately 12 months, while the EC carries out its review into whether Chinese solar modules have been dumped. Yesterday the British government called of the MIP to be removed, saying that: “it would be fairer and simpler to remove the MIP while the current expiry review is under way."

SolarPower Europe has applauded the EC’s findings, saying that it is a “victory for common sense.”

“The Commission found that the index reflects the global module manufacturing status today and also found that the amount of prices reported by the Chinese manufacturers did not influence the average all index disproportionately,” said James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe. “It found no signs of a deliberate attempt to drive the average all index to a lower level as had been claimed.”

SolarPower Europe notes that it has requested all of its members report prices to Bloomberg, to ensure that there is “a wide and varied group of companies” represented in the index.

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