SolarPower Europe reiterates call to scrap MIP as GCL-SI withdraws

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GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI) has become the latest leading Chinese solar module producer to voluntarily withdraw from the European Union’s Minimum Import Price (MIP) undertaking, the company confirmed today.

A subsidiary of the GCL Group, GCL-SI has opted to chance its arm outside of the MIP agreement, leaving the firm exposed to anti-dumping (AD) and anti-subsidy (AS) duties previously levied on it at 41.3% and 6.4% respectively.

"We have carefully reviewed the European solar market and discovered that the average selling prices of solar modules are decreasing in all major EU markets and as a result, the current MIP is not reflecting today’s actual market price environment," said GCL-SI’s president Shu Hua.

The president went on to say that the MIP is actually a hindrance for Chinese solar manufacturers, and impinges their ability to "provide more clean energy products to the European market", in turn impacting on job opportunities. "Europe demands both jobs and clean energy right now," Hua said. "So it’s definitely not creating a win-win situation for both sides."

Given these strident views, the real question should be what took GCL-SI so long to follow in the footsteps of a many of its Chinese counterparts. Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, JinkoSolar, JA Solar, Suntech, ET Solar and Lerri have all either walked away from the MIP or been removed by the EU Commission for violations, leaving only Yingli, Risen, TBEA and LDK as voluntary Chinese signatories of the undertaking.

The removal of Risen from the undertaking was last month proposed by the EU Commission.

James Watson, CEO of Solar Power Europe, told pv magazine that the decision by GCL-SI proves that the MIP is now obsolete. "It was a compromise that has not survived the test of time," said Watson. "The MIP has not been able to keep up with the evolution in price development – largely because it requires companies to submit to prices to a third party for indexation."

Very few companies have been willing to do this, Watson added. "Thus, the price of 56 euro cents/watt the MIP reflects today can be as much as 20 euro cents/watt higher than some quoted on the European market. We have seen European producers quote under 40 euro cents/watt in recent weeks.

"Massive expansion of plants around Asia and the world also make the MIP irrelevant. Thus the only way forward now is to scrap the MIP and the accompanying trade duties and return solar to market prices in Europe."