EU sanctions to spark price rise in solar glass

Businesses looking to add solar installations should move fast, investor services firm IHS has warned, as EU duties on Chinese firms look set to inflate international prices of solar glass.

After falling by 50% from 2009 through 2014, pricing for solar glass will reportedly rebound next year as EU anti-‘dumping’ duties go into effect on Chinese suppliers.

In international trade, dumping is defined as charging a lower price in an export market than is charged in the home country of the producer.

The new legislation will see solar glass pricing reach £3.66 per square meter by 2018, says IHS – up 11% from the low point this year.

“The sharp drop in solar glass prices during the last five years was the result of massive oversupply in the market,” said Karl Melkonyan, solar research analyst at IHS Technology.

“Chinese government subsidies on solar glass caused domestic suppliers to increase production and exports. However, the European Union’s move to impose countervailing duties on solar glass imported from China will limit supply in the market, leading to an expected increase in prices.”

Demand dampener

The Solar Trade Association initially expressed concern with the EU policy when it was originally passed last year, with a sompany spokesperson saying: “As Europe currently imports approximately 70% of its solar panels from China, the net result is likely to be higher install prices to the end customer, which will suppress demand.

“In the opinion of the STA, it is not in Europe’s Interest to impose these duties and we will continue to lobby the EC until an appropriate settlement is reached.”

Worldwide view

IHS estimates the global demand for flat glass – the parent category of solar glass – in 2013 was 47.6 million metric tons. With an estimated 55% share, China dominates flat glass supply. Europe follows with a 16% share.

Read the full report here.

Brad Allen

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