quarta-feira, 29 de maio de 2013

China Divides European Union in Fight Over Tariffs

Adroitly alternating the threat of a trade war with the lure of its huge import market, China appears to have driven a deep wedge between Germany and the rest of the European Union. (...) Ms. Merkel said Germany would lobby against duties on Chinese panels. As Chinese and European trade officials stare each other down over next week’s scheduled imposition of big tariffs on the $27 billion worth of solar panels China sells to Europe each year, Germany has come down on China’s side. Notably, Berlin is backing Beijing, even though Europe’s biggest producer of solar equipment, SolarWorld, is a German company that desperately wants the European Union to impose tariffs on the Chinese equipment. Unless the bloc backs off under German pressure, tariffs averaging nearly 50 percent would go into effect June 6, to punish China for the ostensible “dumping” of solar panels at below cost in Europe.
“Europe cannot succumb to blackmail — dumping is illegal, and the E.U. is obliged to defend itself by applying the international trade law,” said Milan Nitzschke, a spokesman for SolarWorld and the president of ProSun, a lobbying group for the European solar energy industry. But many other German companies, which rely more heavily than other European manufacturers on China as a significant market for their exports — whether Volkswagen cars or Siemens factory equipment or various other goods — fear that the dispute over solar panels could lead to an all-out trade war with China, which would be disastrous for their businesses. So far, the German government appears to agree.

quinta-feira, 23 de maio de 2013

Equipa de estudantes portugueses triunfa nos Ericsson Application Awards

A equipa portuguesa GreenSpark [da Universidade a Madeira] triunfou na categoria de estudantes nos Ericsson Application Awards 2013, com a aplicação Sun Monitor para monitorização de sistemas de energia solar residenciais. (...) Segundo a organização, o Sun Monitor “reduz a complexidade de manter e monitorizar um sistema de energia solar residencial, através de um dispositivo plug-and-play, com recurso a tecnologia de cloud computing”. O júri seleccionou a GreenSpark por “a equipa se ter focado no desempenho das células solares numa altura em que o consumo de energia e a eficiência energética ganham cada vez mais destaque, e de ter desenvolvido uma aplicação com benefícios óbvios para os utilizadores e para todos os stakeholders no ramo da energia”.
Mais informações sobre o projecto aqui.

quarta-feira, 22 de maio de 2013

U.S., EU Said to Be in Talks With China to End Solar Spat

The Obama administration is engaged in preliminary talks with the European Union and China to settle a dispute over trade in solar-energy equipment and avoid a conflict among the world’s largest economies, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The effort is focused on setting a quota on Chinese exports and a minimum price for solar-energy equipment, in exchange for suspending U.S. duties on the goods, according to two people familiar with the U.S. position who asked not to be identified to discuss private deliberations.

Japan Plans Low-Interest Loans for Rooftop Solar

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to provide low-interest loans to companies that borrow residential rooftop space for solar power generation, the Nikkei newspaper reported today.
The ministry plans to make loans available through government financial institutions such as Development Bank of Japan Inc., the newspaper cited Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi as saying. Motegi will announce the plan tomorrow in a meeting on industrial competitiveness, according to the paper.
Under the proposal, companies will sell electricity generated from solar panels set up on homeowners’ rooftop spaces, according to the paper. Homeowners will receive 10,000 yen ($97) to 20,000 yen a year for renting out their roofs, it said.

sexta-feira, 17 de maio de 2013

China to delay preliminary decision on polysilicon import duties until after June 5

People's Daily Online
The Chinese government is expected to soon complete its antidumping and antisubsidy investigation into polysilicon imports from the US, the EU and South Korea, according to Chinese news portal People Daily, which cites an internal source from China’s Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom). According to the article, the investigation is almost complete; however, China will delay the announcement of its preliminary decision until after June 5, which is when the EU is due to announce whether it will apply provisional duties to Chinese silicon wafer, cell and module imports.
Mofcom opened the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations into US and South Korean polysilicon imports in mid-July 2012. In early November of the same year, Mofcom launched similar investigations into EU polysilicon imports.

quarta-feira, 15 de maio de 2013

SMA announces job cuts of over 1,000

The world’s biggest photovoltaic inverter manufacturer has said that due to reduced solar support in Europe, it forecasts plummeting sales in 2013 of between €0.9 billion to €1.3 billion, compared to the predicted €1.3 billion to €1.5 billion expected to be achieved this year. "The growth impulses of the non-European photovoltaic markets are not sufficient to compensate for the expected decrease in European demand," stated Pierre-Pascal Urbon, speaker of SMA’s Managing Board.
(...) [T]he company has said it will gradually cut 450 of its worldwide workforce and terminate 600 of its temporary workers. It did not indicate which regions would be affected, however.
SMA has said it will not cut any jobs in its development business, and plans to invest over €100 million in R&D in the next year. "Developing completely new product platforms should reduce production costs significantly by 2014, while at the same time setting new standards for energy management," said the company in a statement released.

Germany urges diplomatic resolution to EU trade case against China

Germany is continuing to strive for a diplomatic resolution to the European Union's ongoing investigation into the alleged dumping of Chinese solar modules in Europe. Last week, it emerged that the European Commission’s is planning an average of 47% tariffs on Chinese solar module manufacturers, but at a press conference yesterday government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Germany was still working with China to reach a mutually beneficial solution. Seibert said the German chancellor Angela Merkel has always believed the best course of action was an “amicable solution" with China. (...) A spokesman for Germany's economy ministry named the European Commission's position "hard" and said his ministry was urging the commission and China to continue the political dialogue to try and still ultimately reach an amicable solution.

quarta-feira, 8 de maio de 2013

EU to Slap Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels

Wall Street Journal
The European Union is poised to slap import duties on solar-panel equipment made in China, likely sparking one of the largest trade battles of recent decades. The duties are intended to protect European solar companies reeling from a flood of imported Chinese solar panels. Dozens of European manufacturers have shut production or gone out of business as solar-panel prices have plummeted; the industry says unfairly priced imports from China are the cause.
The import duties will average about 46%, according to people familiar with the matter, though different Chinese manufacturers will face different individual tariffs. The tariffs will cover panels and their main components, solar cells and silicon wafers.
(...) Solar-panel importers claim that duties of just 15% would cut European demand for solar panels by 85%. "If prices are artificially increased by punitive tariffs, the European solar market would simply come to a standstill with disastrous effects on green jobs," said Wouter Vermeersch, chief executive of Cleantec Trade, a Belgian importer of renewable-energy products.

terça-feira, 7 de maio de 2013

Canada loses appeal over Ontario's FIT program

Trade - European Commission
Canada lost the appeal filed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in a ruling that the local content requirement embedded within Ontario’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program violates global trade rules.
The appeal was filed by the Canadian authorities at the WTO on February 5. The original ruling, published in December, supported claims made by Japan and the EU that the FIT program’s local content requirement unfairly discriminates against foreign companies.
After the ruling was published, Japan filed a cross appeal in the dispute involving “Canada – Renewable Energy” (WT/DS412), while the EU filed a cross appeal in the dispute involving “Canada – Feed-in Tariff Program” (WT/DS426). The Appellate Body report will have now to be adopted by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body within 30 days. Canada will have to present its plan to implement the ruling in the following months.
(...) Ontario’s local content requirement ensures that renewable energy installations built in Ontario only receive a FIT if 50 to 60 percent of the project’s equipment and services come from Ontario-based companies.

sexta-feira, 3 de maio de 2013

Tour Tecnologias Solar em Lisboa

No âmbito dos Dias Europeus do Sol, projecto co-financiados pelo programa Intelligent Energy Europe, a Lisboa E-Nova, Agência Municipal de Energia e Ambiente, e a APISOLAR, Associação Portuguesa da Indústria Solar estão a organizar, no dia 17 de Maio, um Tour Tecnologias Solares em Lisboa. Inscreva-se aqui, as vagas são limitadas!

PV installation pace to slow in the EU as support wanes

The EU connected over 16.5 GW of new PV capacity in 2012 – down sharply from 22 GW in 2011 – bringing the region’s total installed PV capacity to 68.6 GW as of the end of last year. Global installed PV capacity, meanwhile, topped 101 GW.
According to the EurObserv’ER Baromoter, which is supported by the European Commission, Germany (7,604 MW) and Italy (3,577 MW) accounted for more than two thirds of all PV capacity installed in the EU last year. Last year’s other strong markets include France (1,079 MW), Greece (912 MW), Bulgaria (721 MW), the UK (679 MW) and Belgium (599 MW).
In terms of cumulative installed grid-connected PV capacity, Germany and Italy, of course, lead Europe with 32.6 and 16.3 GW, respectively, as of the end of last year. Spain (4,492 MW), France (4,003 MW), Belgium (2,650 MW), the Czech Republic (2,022 MW), the UK (1,655 MW) and Greece (1,536 MW) also had more than 1 GW of installed PV capacity as of Dec. 31, 2013.
Solar now covers more than 2% of EU electricity consumption. (...) [However,] public opinion and European governments are becoming increasingly reluctant to make further investments in PV as the payoffs, economic growth and employment, have not materialized as expected. In the short term, this will inevitably lead to a slower installation pace in many European markets. While PV development in the EU will slacken this year, development in China, the US and Japan is expected to take off. China will replace Germany as the world’s top solar market this year. In the coming years, EurObserv’ER predicts, India, South America and Africa will power future growth.

quinta-feira, 2 de maio de 2013

EU initiates anti-dumping investigation on solar glass from China

Press Release 
The European Commission today launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar glass from China. The initiation is based on a complaint lodged by the association EU ProSun Glass, which claims solar glass from China is being dumped in the EU at prices below market value and causing material injury to the EU solar glass industry.
The investigation could take up to 15 months, although under trade defence rules the EU could impose provisional anti-dumping duties within nine months if it considers these necessary.
Solar glass is a special glass used mainly, but not exclusively, for the production of solar panels. It is an essential component not just of solar panels, but of many solar energy products. This investigation has, however, no direct link with the probe related to the imports of solar panels launched by the European Commission last September (MEMO/12/647): it is a stand-alone investigation concerning a clearly distinct product. The EU solar glass market is valued at less than €200m.