New solar power installations in the EU have shown a drastic decrease between 2011 and 2012, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association’s (EPIA) “Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017” published by the. According to EPIA,
“the results show clearly that Europe’s leading role in driving the global PV market is coming to an end. In 2011, Europe accounted for more than 70% of the world’s new PV installations; in 2012 this number was around 55%. In 2013 it is almost certain that the majority of new PV capacity in the world will be installed outside of Europe.”
In an attempt to respond to the “solar crisis” and in the midst of a fierce trade dispute with China, the EU initiated a series of trade-defense measures, including the imposition of levies of up to 67% on solar equipment imported from China, probably effective from December. Earlier in 2013, Brussels launched an investigation against China for predatory pricing policies (dumping) and allegedly providing illegal support to its photovoltaic industry through subsidies.
Although the EU’s solar manufacturing industry, such as SolarWorld that submitted the anti-dumping complaint to the European Commission, has been seriously impacted by below-the-cost prices of Chinese solar technologies, experts fear that up to 242,000 jobs may be lost from the PV re-selling and installation sector. According to the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE), a coalition of 500 companies in the European solar industry, “[t]he Commission’s plans to impose tariffs of approximately 37- to 69% on solar products from China are wrong and do not take into account the interest of the European Union industry; Punitive tariffs will cost us more than 200,000 jobs.”