STA slams European Commission decision to extend import tariffs

The Solar Trade Association (STA) has criticized the European Commission after it announced it was extending price controls for Chinese solar panels.

The Europe-wide import tariffs and price controls on solar panels from China were originally due to expire yesterday (7 December), but the Commission launched an Expiry Review on Saturday, which will mean that the import tariffs could remain in place for several more years.

The Commission is to undertake two Expiry Reviews into anti-dumping and countervailing measures, and an interim review as to whether cells should remain subject to the tariffs.

“These price controls on imports of Chinese solar panels need to be dropped,” said STA Chief Executive, Paul Barwell.

“Europe is currently paying far more than it should for its solar – and that applies both to our homeowners and our governments.”

“In the last two and a half years under these price controls and restrictions, the UK will have deployed nearly 7GW of solar PV equating to £8.5bn of investment. Over the life of the tariffs this will add £700million more than it would otherwise need to in terms of the UK’s support for solar – that is simply too much,” added Mr Barwell.

“The Commission appears to be hamstrung by its own restrictive processes, where they cannot take into account the full facts. We hope this review by the Commission will check whether these price controls are in the interests of the industry as a whole.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues