The European Commission (EC) has arrived at a new mechanism for setting the minimum price for solar imports from China through September 2018, and has proposed separate rates for mono- and multi-crystalline cells and modules.
Taking into account feedback from interested parties, the EC has accepted the fact that the current minimum import price (MIP) for photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, adjusted quarterly, is no longer adequate. The new measure of choice is a variable duty MIP, distinguishing between mono- and multi-crystalline products, according to a statement on Wednesday.
The commission is proposing starting rates, which will be gradually converging to current solar prices, based on data by Taiwanese market intelligence agency PV Insights. The EC noted that most of the interested parties that helped in its review have mentioned PV Insights as a reliable source of price statistics, with SolarWorld (ETR:SWV) being an exception.
The table shows the proposed starting MIPs for separate products in a draft released by the EC. The level for the quarter to September 2018 corresponds to global prices in the first quarter of 2017.
Rates in EUR/W
to Sept ‘17 Q4‘17 Q1‘18 Q2 ‘18 Q3 ‘18
multi-crystalline modules 0.415 0.394 0.372 0.351 0.330
mono-crystalline modules 0.463 0.442 0.421 0.400 0.380
SolarPower Europe on Thursday attacked the proposal, saying that the MIP level proposed for July 2018 is still well above today's world market prices. It is not happy with the full time lag of 18 months for reaching the "true market price of solar" in Europe, said Christian Westermeier, president of the trade group.
According to the EC, the aggressive drop in solar prices could not be sustained for much longer. It expects that prices in September 2018 would not be significantly lower than currently, but will still provide some residual protection to the solar industry in the EU.
“[..] the mechanism allows the convergence towards world market prices in a relatively short timeframe,” the EC states in the proposal.
SolarPower Europe’s Westermeier further warns that the new MIP plan could slow all solar investment in Europe, as developers could be tempted to delay projects until the end of the measures.