Photovoltaic company goes bankrupt: Photovoltaic crisis in Lower Austria: Bankruptcy shakes industry

The European solar industry is facing an existential crisis, fueled by massive imports of low-cost solar panels from China. This development has led to significant market distortions, driven many European solar companies into bankruptcy and put the future of the industry at risk.

China has significantly expanded its solar panel production capacity in recent years. About 80 percent of solar modules produced globally now come from China, according to an analysis by Solar Power Europe. Chinese manufacturers benefit from government subsidies and lower production costs, allowing European manufacturers to offer their products at prices they cannot compete with.

A prime example of the impact of this import is the German company SolarWorld. Once the market leader in the European solar industry, SolarWorld was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2017. The reason: the dominance of Chinese competition, which floods the market with cheap modules. This led to a dramatic drop in prices that SolarWorld could not handle.

>>> Cheap imports from China: Is Europe’s PV industry on the brink of collapse again?

Other European companies met a similar fate. REC Group, a Norwegian solar cell manufacturer, was acquired by a Chinese investor in 2015 after the company struggled to compete against cheap imports. Spanish company Isofoton, once a major player in the European solar market, filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

The EU has responded to the development with a range of measures, including anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panels. However, these measures had only limited effect. Although the tariffs were extended, Chinese manufacturers found ways to avoid the restrictions, for example by exporting to third countries.

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