Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Support the campaign against EU tariffs on solar panels!

As the EU is about to join the US in its crazy decision to impose tariffs on solar pv panels imported from China now is the time to add our voices against what the EU Commission is doing. The Commission, acting upon the pressure from a small group of solar panel makers who are isolated from the rest of the EU solar industry, is about to impose punitive import tariffs on Chinese solar panels. This action runs directly counter to the EU supposed high priority of supplying 20 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020.

You can support the campaign against the plans to impose tariffs. See http://afase.org/open-letter

If the EU imposes these tariffs it is quite clear what the priorities become - self-interested protectionism. Is the EU's interest in renewable energy nothing more than something that benefits solely EU manufacturing interests? Is all the talk about saving the planet, curbing climate change and conserving scarce fossil fuel reserves just a convenient piece of argument to advance EU interests so long as they have a trade advantage?

Unless the plans for import duties are reversed the already much-slowed growth in UK solar pv deployment will virtually cease as prices of solar panels increase. The UK Government is opposing the EU moves to impose solar import tariffs, although it is responsible for the slowdown in UK solar expansion because of its over-rapid reduction in the feed-in tariffs for solar panels. Between them the EU and the UK Government will destroy much of what is left of the UK solar industry.

The so-called 'neoliberalism' of the EU, like the USA, is really a form of ‘mercantilism’, that is expansion of trade only in so far as it benefits certain vested interests. The European Commission and the USA are all in favour of capitalism - until somebody else (like the Chinese) comes along and does it better! Then the talk is about 'subsidies'. I do not see much evidence of subsidies. What I do see is protectionism by the EU and the USA.

You can do something by signing the letter (see earlier link). More information about the campaign against the tariffs can be seen at: http://afase.org/en


  1. I understand that Chinese solar panels undercut European by about 5% in the market. So where is the justification for the 47% tariffs the EU proposes to charge?

    Moreover the UK Govt has been reducing Feed in Tariffs due to the fall in panel costs. With these duties in place, solar installation costs will soar - but does anyone think the FIT will increase in line with that? This move signals the death of most of the UK PV installation sector.

    As for the import duties being made retrospective, this is just a sure fire way to put importers into bankruptcy. I'm sure they have this all prepared. Little money will be raised, but established importers will all go out of business.