According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, Europe’s anti-dumping and countervailing investigation on China suggested that the government has subsidized their domestic solar manufacturers, and Europe may impose a punitive tariff (more than 30%) on China’s PV products. In addition, the wide range of products that may be affected by the punitive tariff suggests that organizations (EU ProSun and AFASE) are still defending their own interests.
EnergyTrend indicated that the US has already determined Chinese PV manufacturers’ unfair competition in the market. SolarWorld, the leader of Europe’s litigation, has also initiated legal proceedings against China in the US. EnergyTrend believes that if Europe’s final ruling differs significantly from that of the US’s, they may face considerable pressure. On the other hand, as long as the grounds of US’s ruling remains the same, Europe’s charges against China’s illegal subsidies will not be questioned.
The current tax rate ranges from 30%-60%. According to EnergyTrend, the current Chinese module price quoted in the European market is between €0.52/Wp-€0.58/Wp, and based on this price, Europe’s system project’s ROI (Return on Investment) will be approximately 8%. Once module price increases by over 30% and Germany cuts subsidy by 1.8% in May, the system’s IRR will decrease by at least 1%, which is unfavorable to the following investments in the industry.
Tax rates are discussed in the market, but the range of the punitive tariff is yet to be determined. According to EnergyTrend, whether Chinese panel products should be included is debated by European PV manufacturers and the downstream companies. In the European solar industry, though PV manufacturers have continued to face deficit and the fear of bankruptcy, EPC companies and Project Developers (PD) still gained profit due to the low cost Chinese modules. Once module price increases, EPC companies may face significant profit loss if investors wish to maintain their overall revenue and investment projects may also be postponed.
In order to maintain their own interests, European EPC and PD manufacturers have opposed to such investigations. If the anti-dumping and countervailing investigation is put into practice, considering the production cost and recovery time, we believe that Chinese manufacturers will accelerate their module production transfer. They may sign OEM contracts with local manufacturers, and considering the market potential and well as transportation and production cost, Southeast Asia may benefit the most and become China’s largest overseas production base.
In addition, Europe’s ruling may also bring business opportunities to Taiwan. With the transferred orders, Taiwanese manufacturers may then be able to maintain considerable capacity and product price.