Saxony's energy minister Wolfram Günther (Greens) considers photovoltaics a "strategic Achilles' heel" for Europe and has called for more support for the production of solar modules. "China is currently flooding the European market with solar modules to be flogged off far below manufacturing costs. This is dumping. That endangers our solar industry," he said in Dresden on Thursday. Currently, 98 percent of the modules come from Asia, 80 percent of them from China. Modules with a capacity of 85 gigawatts are sitting in the port of Rotterdam, he said. "For comparison, the total annual addition of modules in the EU in 2022 was 57 gigawatts."
"The Saxon, the Central German solar industry is a leader in technology and research. Now it is on the verge of growing, entering the mass business to equip the energy transition. We must be extremely careful not to stifle this development now," the minister said. The clear-cutting of the solar industry in the 2010s must not be repeated, he said. "We want our solar industry to grow. We want to harvest the added value of the energy transition here at home. We also need to get away from the one-sided dependence on Chinese solar modules. That's dangerous. With oil and gas, we have seen where one-sided dependence on just one supplier leads."
According to Günther, a "resolute European response to dumping from China" is necessary. Proposals are being developed for this, he said. "This is a matter of the canned stuff." He said he was glad that this issue also played a role at the conference of minister presidents and the meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels. China is only flooding the market temporarily, he said. "But the damage to our industry would be permanent, because there is a risk that production capacities will be reduced, that production will be shifted elsewhere. Appropriate measures are needed now to allow the solar industry to survive the period of dumping, he said. Help would be needed temporarily.
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