Following Trump's decision to impose tariffs on foreign solar panels, the vast majority of which are manufactured in China, the Chinese government halted its own subsidy programs for installation to reduce the risk that an oversupply of solar panels would drastically reduce their value.
Chinese solar panel manufactures got some good news this week, however, when the European Union (EU) announced that it would open up their market to foreign panels. The only catch is that Chinese companies will have to sell them at the same price as European manufacturers; a price that is going to decline anyway as a result of greater supply.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will scrap import controls on solar panels and cells from China in September, rejecting a request from EU producers who argue that the bloc will be opening its doors to a flood of dumped products. [...]
Chinese manufacturers are allowed to sell solar products in Europe free of duties if they do so at or above a minimum price that has progressively declined. If sold for less than that price, they are subject to duties of up to 64.9 percent.
The European Union has faced a delicate balancing act between the interests of EU manufacturers and those such as importers and installers pressing for a reduction in the cost of solar power generation.
It's not a coincidence that the European Union is doing this now while Trump wages a trade war with China. China and the EU recently signed an agreement to expand access to their markets in a direct response to Trump's actions and this could just the first of many new deals they sign together.
Like their counterparts in the United States, European manufacturers argued against the new rules, but European companies in the installation business support it. Installers say opening up the market for to foreign solar panels will create nearly 50,000 jobs as the price of installation becomes cheaper. And there's no reason to doubt that because installers here in the United States have cut thousands of jobs and canceled projects because of Trump's tariffs on foreign panels.
Our loss will be someone else's gain.