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Call to end EU trade measures on Chinese solar cells

Over 400 companies have asked the EU to end trade measures on Chinese solar modules and cells.14 Oct 2016

In an open letter to European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, the companies asked that the minimum import price and anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures be removed immediately.

"The measures are having the unforeseen consequence of negatively impacting the entire European solar value chain to the detriment of jobs, investment and solar deployment in Europe. A policy that was designed to help the few has failed to do so, only serving to harm the very many right across the EU," the letter said.

Europe holds a "worryingly small and shrinking percentage" of the market for solar power and needs help to boost demand, the letter said.

The trade measures add to the cost of solar and slow down the development of the sector, the letter said.

"The measures add 100,000s of euros to installations in the region of 10MW and above and around €1,000 to household installations. With tenders for large scale solar being driven by price, the trade measures are ensuring that the potential of solar is not being fulfilled in Europe," the letter said.

Sebastian Berry is a director of one of the trade associations behind the letter, SolarPower Europe. He said: "The trade measures have been in place for a long time [and] they have brought only decline to the European solar sector. We need the Commission to remove these measures to allow the sector to grow sustainably again. If Europe is serious about leading in renewables, then the solar sector must be allowed to grow again and the European Commission can support this with one easy action – removing the trade measures."

UK signatories to the letter include utility SSE, fund manager Octopus Investments, technical adviser SgurrEnergy and developers Lightsource Renewable Energy, Eco2, Low Carbon and Solarcentury.

German signatories include BayWa, EnBW, Capital Stage and ib vogt.