European coalition urges EU to support PV manufacturers

A position paper from Solar Industry Regions Europe (SIRE) says a balance must be struck between protecting the European solar market and reaching the market objectives of the energy transition.

SIRE – a network of seven European regions, covering Austria, Czechia, France, Germany and Italy – said in a new paper that swift action is needed from the European Union to support European PV manufacturers.

SIRE said in its latest position paper that “recent trends underscore significant challenges that continue to threaten the industry’s viability.”

These include the European Union’s reliance on Chinese-made PV modules, which constitute more than 95% of imports. SIRE said this dependence “poses economic security risks and undermines the EU’s sustainability objectives,” such as its plans to expand solar capacity.

The group sais many European PV manufacturers have seen production halts and closures in recent months due to the influx of low-priced Chinese modules, which have “distorted competition and exacerbated market pressures.” It said the oversupply of imported PV modules has driven prices below production costs, jeopardizing the viability of European manufacturers.

SIRE proposes banning solar products made with forced labor. It said the European Union should buy unsold solar modules from European warehouses and use funds for short-term support, like procuring PV modules.

Over the short term, the paper calls for accelerated solar deployment, strategic stockpiling and diversification of the import sources of raw material and components. Over the longer term, the group called for more attention and funding for solar panel recycling initiatives and the upskilling of workers.

SIRE said that the Net Zero Industry Act, which was the focus of its last paper, will be a key tool for strengthening the competitiveness of solar modules in the medium and long term.

The group is composed of representatives from Andalusia, Carinthia, Liberec, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Sicily and Grand Est. Its calls follow concerns expressed by the European Solar Manufacturing Council last year. In January, the European Technology and Innovation Platform for Photovoltaics updated a white paper on European PV manufacturing.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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