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An alliance of solar glass manufacturers, led by Germany-based GMB Glasmanufaktur Brandenburg, has filed an anti-dumping complaint with the European Commission against Chinese competitors.
Dubbed EU ProSun Glass, the group claims that nearly 90% of imported solar glass comes from China, with European jobs and factories being heavily affected by destructive dumping.
This association is not affiliated with EU ProSun, which filed an anti-dumping and countervailing duty complaint against Chinese module manufacturers last year.
Milan Nitzschke, President of EU ProSun said: “The new case shows that China’s strategy to dominate the solar sector is not limited to just solar modules but also affects materials like glass. It’s a question of time when equipment and raw material manufacturers will follow.”
He told PV-Tech: "With the complaint coming from the solar glass manufacturers it should now become clear that China's aggressive policy affects the solar industry as a whole.
"China is dumping in case of modules, cells and wafers. But China is also dumping glass, junction boxes and inverters. Previously, many suppliers were hoping to make big business with the rapidly growing solar industry in China. However, glass is an example to show that it is the other way around. For some more time China might be buying foreign products, but then again they will be copied, manufactured in China and the world market will be flooded with those goods.
"The question is whether there are other big independent manufacturers in the solar upstream industries in the EU. If so, it's only a matter of time before we will see new dumping complaints in Brussels," concluded Nitzschke.
On the opposite side of the fence, Till Richter, spokesmane for the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy, said: “Tariffs on solar products and their components are bad for the entire European solar industry since they would lead to prices increases and significantly dampen demand.
"Solar energy is playing an important role in enabling the EU to meet its climate change goals. However, for solar energy to be able to compete with traditional energy sources, the cost efficiency of solar energy must continue to rise. Any increase in costs will thus endanger the aim of grid parity which is already within grasp in several European member states."
Communications Manager at Chinese manufacturing giant Suntech, Björn Emde, said EU ProSun Glass was "another SolarWorld proxy", referring to the company that initiated the trade claims against China in the US and Europe. "Trying to put more pressure on the Commission however is not helpful I suspect," he added.