The European Court of Justice in July agreed with the Chinese manufacturer, which had said the European Commission had no right to collect duties of 47.7% on any products exported before the company had been notified – in October 2016 – that it was having its access to a minimum price agreement withdrawn by the EU.
The falling cost of PV has increasingly driven the adoption of solar technology in recent years. But for a long time, the solar industry was fully dependent on subsidies. German PV project developer BayWa r.e. made headlines in 2018 with its 175 MW Don Rodrigo plant just outside of Seville, in southern Spain. The company backed the array with a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA), marking the first time a project of that size had been refinanced in Europe without the help of subsidies. It later charted new territory again with the completion of Germany’s first subsidy-free PV project in 2019.
While the damage is largely done for cells, modules and inverters, increased tariffs on U.S. module components and 15% measures on lithium-ion batteries are not good news for either sector.
German customs officers executed two arrest warrants during the Smarter E show in Munich. The public prosecutor’s office in Nuremberg-Fürth also confirmed another arrest, connected to an existing investigation of a Chinese PV manufacturer. The arrested executives were allegedly involved in commercial smuggling of solar modules, the customs authorities and prosecutor told pv magazine. The authorities believe minimum import prices for crystalline solar modules from China, in effect until September, were circumvented and millions of euros in payments were evaded.
According to media reports, several Chinese solar module manufacturers will face legal actions for illegal trade of PV products in Germany. For one of these cases, approximately €110 million in tax frauds is reported. The court of Nürnberg-Fürth in southern Germany has already launched prosecutions related to the matter for four persons.
Mocfom’s decision to extend antidumping and anti-subsidy duties on polysilicon imported from the EU is likely a reaction to the 18-month extension of the EU duties on Chinese solar modules. German polysilicon maker Wacker Chemie had previously agreed a minimum import price with China.
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce had proposed not to the change the conditions of the minimum price agreement until the end of the interim review. Brussels has now accepted this proposal. In doing so, the European Commission has maintained the minimum import price for Chinese solar modules at €0.46/W.
Jetion Solar, Hareon Solar and GCL Technology requested to withdraw from the minimum price agreement in October. The three companies, as well as Talesun Solar, are now excluded by Brussels from the undertaking.
The 18-month extension to antidumping (AD) and anti-subsidy duties applied to Chinese solar exports has caused mixed reactions within the industry. The measure should be published on the EU Official Journal by the end of this week.
The Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxemburg this week confirmed the validity of the import duties, rejecting all complaints from 26 PV manufacturers. In the opinion of the judges the measures are necessary to compensate damage caused to the European solar industry by dumped imports from China.
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