The European Union is prioritizing its ambitious solar power targets as it assesses potential measures to address imports of photovoltaic panels, wafers, and related components, according to a senior EU official's statement on Monday.
European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness emphasized that the EU is actively developing a comprehensive toolkit to bolster the solar industry, considering that a substantial 97% of solar panels used in Europe are currently imported, primarily from China.
McGuinness addressed the European Parliament, underlining the need to align any potential measures with the EU's energy transition goals. The European Commission has set an ambitious target of achieving 750 gigawatts of solar generation capacity by 2030, a significant increase from the 260 GW recorded in 2023.
To prevent local solar panel manufacturers from succumbing to price pressures from Chinese imports, the European solar panel manufacturing sector has urged the EU to take swift action. Emergency measures, including the purchase of surplus EU solar modules, have been proposed. If these actions cannot be implemented promptly, the Commission is urged to explore "safeguard" measures, which could involve the imposition of import tariffs and quotas.
McGuinness acknowledged the substantial decline in solar panel prices, which have fallen by more than 40% due to global oversupply.
The EU is also implementing regulations to encourage public authorities to consider factors beyond price when awarding tenders for clean-tech equipment, aiming to limit supply reliance from a single source to no more than 65%.
Under more flexible state aid regulations, the Commission has already approved nine initiatives with a budget exceeding 12 billion euros for clean-tech equipment, including solar panels.
Furthermore, the EU is collaborating with countries such as the United States and India to reduce dependence on Chinese supply sources, highlighting its commitment to supporting the growth and sustainability of the solar industry.