The European Union announced last September 16 that it would reduce the minimum prices for Chinese solar panels sold in Europe. These rates also provide the basis for anti-dumping duties imposed on solar products imported from mainland China.
The minimum import price (MIP) will be progressively cut every three months. The first reduction starts October 1, 2017 and ends July 1, 2018. Companies that sell solar products below the set minimum price are required to pay import duties of up to 64.9 percent.
on China solar panels
on China solar panels
The European Union first imposed tariffs on imported solar products back in 2013 when Chinese panels began flooding the European market. An investigation launched in September 2012 showed that some of these Chinese companies were selling solar goods at below market value – hurting local European producers.
Anti-dumping duty solar panels started in December 2013. Since then, importers of China solar goods are required to pay anti-dumping duty to Customs if the price is above the MIP.
In 2016, the European Union decided to extend the anti-dumping duties on crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules and components from China to similar imports from Malaysia and Taiwan.
Import tariffs on mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline products
During the March 2017 review, more than 20 interested parties suggested separating the duty MIP for mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline products. These parties included Union producers, European companies, solar industry associations, Malaysian exporters, and the Chinese government.
Mono-crystalline products are more expensive than poly-crystalline products due to their higher output per area of space. According to price quotes from PV Insights, the average price difference between mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline modules was €0.047 per watt and the difference between poly-crystalline and mono-crystalline cells was €0.040 per watt from January 2014 to March 2017.
The distinction makes sense as the Union industry seems to focus on manufacturing high-end mono-crystalline products for rooftops while importers and engineering, procurement and construction companies (EPCs) were active in the utility-scale sector which utilizes poly-crystalline modules.
Reduced MIP and duties
By September 2017, the European Union had decided to lower the MIP for China-made crystalline silicon photovoltaic products on a quarterly basis to keep up with the global average. The MIP is currently determined by international prices indicated in the Bloomberg database (BNEF spot price index).
This development is expected to lower the prices of poly-crystalline cells to €0.19 per watt starting October 2017 and further drop to €0.18 by July 2018. The prices of mono-crystalline cells are expected to fall to €0.23 to €0.21 per watt. For solar modules, the prices could range between €0.30 and €0.37 per watt for poly-crystalline modules and €0.35 and €0.42 for mono-crystalline modules.
Since the minimum import prices also provide the basis for tariffs imposed on solar products entering Europe, anti-dumping duties are also expected to change.
Even with the EU committee agreeing to reduce the MIP, European trade groups warned that prices of solar cells and modules could go up by 30%.