AFASE Advocates Open Markets and Free Trade

Jun 28th, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Posts, Press/News Releases

On the occasion of the Intersolar in Munich, the world’s largest exhibition for the solar industry, the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE) speaks out against any protectionist measures in the European solar industry. The sector strongly depends on free trade and fair competition. Both have contributed greatly to making solar energy more affordable and to the creation of thousands of high value jobs across Europe.

“China is the second largest trading partner for the EU”, says Jerry Stokes, President of Suntech Europe, an affiliate of AFASE. “Protectionist measures in the solar industry would benefit no one, and European consumers would be among the first to suffer due to higher prices for solar products. Erecting trade barriers would therefore not be in the common interest of the EU.”

Protectionist measures would significantly harm the solar industry that is based on a complex global supply chain. For example, Chinese solar companies import a significant portion of their manufacturing and testing equipment as well as individual components from European suppliers and many types of raw materials. After the panels have been produced, engineers and system integrators plan the solar systems for individual home owners or commercial clients and a network of local companies install them on the spot.

For every solar panel installed in Europe – even if produced in China – about 70 percent of the value-creation remains local. This means that the majority of jobs in the solar industry are generated in the country where the solar power plant is sold, installed, and serviced.

“Closing markets would seriously dent the European solar industry’s growth and harm solar companies along the whole value chain”, says Till Richter, Managing Partner of the German solar company Richter Solar. “It is therefore imperative for all players in the global solar marketplace to work constructively together to resolve any trade dispute jointly through negotiations rather than through unilateral actions.”

The development of solar energy is a fundamental component in achieving the EU energy targets. The objectives of the EU’s renewable energy policy demand that solar energy gets competitive with traditional energy sources. Ongoing price reduction of solar panels is a prerequisite for this.

AFASE was founded at the beginning of 2012 to protect free trade in the solar sector in Europe. The alliance brings together more than 70 companies from the whole  photovoltaic value chain, including raw material suppliers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, installers and maintenance companies, who generate more than 7.5 billion Euro annual turnover.

 

Scource: AFASE, Pressrelease, June, 13 2012

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