The minimum price per Watt imposed on Chinese PV module imports into the EU will feel much higher to installers and developers than the deal suggests, according to the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE).
According to AFASE, the agreed minimum import price of €0.55 per Watt (US$0.74) will be more like €0.59-0.60 per Watt (US$0.79-0.80) by the time additional costs have been factored in.
“It is very difficult to determine with any degree of certainty the market price at the door of the installers, developers and other downstream operators as this will depend on whether or not trader-importers distributing the products are involved. In general terms, taking into account average movement costs after the EU border of around 2% and a distributor margin of 5%, the price could be €0.59-0.60,” the group claimed in an emailed statement to PV Tech.
AFASE represents the downstream portion of the European solar sector that is expected to see rising prices for components as cheap Chinese options are removed from the market.
The case against the Chinese manufacturers was brought by their higher-priced European competitors, who claimed they were being undercut by imports from China that were selling for less than the cost of production in some cases.
AFASE said that demand for solar in Europe had been hit by falling public support and the uncertainty created by the long-running EU-China trade battle. It expects ground-mounted installations to be hit particularly hard.
The group also said it and its members were at the mercy of the Chinese importers and the European Commission to ensure that the undertaking was fulfilled and added that it was impossible to tell how thoroughly the rules would be adhered too.
“This is impossible for AFASE to judge as it is purely a matter of the Chinese producer-exporters’ compliance with their commitments and of the monitoring by the European Commission. AFASE and its members are forced to undergo the consequences of the price undertakings and its implementation and monitoring,” it said.
AFASE did add that the undertaking follows a format used in the past and that both the commission and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, which is coordinating the implementation in China, have experience of the difficulties the mechanism can create.
Despite this, it warned that non-compliance with the price undertaking, which results in the implementation of punitive anti-dumping tariffs, averaging around 47.6% per manufacturer, would only damage the European market further.
“This industry should not bear the consequences of any possible violation of the price undertakings and should not have to face any retroactive application of anti-dumping duties in case the EU would decide to withdraw the undertakings for any Chinese producer-exporter,” it said.