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EU: trade sanctions to cause rise in solar glass prices

Pricing for solar glass is set for a rebound starting next year as EU anti-dumping duties go into effect on Chinese suppliers. High imports from China led to lost profits and shutdowns of factories for European solar glass producers. In response, the European Union in May imposed five-year tariffs on solar glass from China.

After falling by about 50% from 2009 through 2014, pricing for solar glass is set to commence a rebound starting next year, as anti-dumping duties levied by the European Union go into effect on Chinese suppliers.
Average global pricing for glass used in photovoltaic (PV) solar is expected to fall to USD 4.60 per square meter this year, down from USD 10.40 in 2009, according to IHS Technology. However, pricing will begin to stabilize and begin a long-term increase starting next year. By 2018, solar glass pricing will increase to USD 5.90 per square meter, up 11% from the low point this year.
In 2010, imports accounted for only 7% of total solar glass supply in Europe. This share grew to 30% in 2013. For 2014, more than 90% of imports will come from China, up from 35% in 2010.
This means that in 2014, Chinese manufacturers will account for 27% of total solar glass supply in Europe, up from 2.5% in 2010.
Encouraged by government subsidies, many Chinese glass manufacturers entered the solar glass segment and started an aggressive pricing strategy in overseas markets, following a similar pattern to China’s participation in the module space. The price undercutting caused a strong oversupply and price collapse in the market.
High imports from China led to lost profits and shutdowns of factories for European solar glass producers. In response, the European Union in May imposed five-year tariffs on solar glass from China. The EU imposed countervailing duties on solar glass imported from China in a range of about 3 to 17%, depending on the level of subsidy that a solar glass company received from China.
The global demand for flat glass in 2013 was estimated to be around 47.6 million metric tonnes. With an estimated 55% share, China dominates flat glass supply. Europe follows with a 16% share.
The Asia-Pacific region is forecast to remain the largest and fastest-growing market for solar glass during the next five years. However, only a few first-tier suppliers from China will provide what customers consider to be high-end products.
In other developments in solar glass, the global market share of anti-reflective coated (ARC) solar glass in 2018 is projected to reach 85%. Anti-reflective coatings increase module power output and lower the cost-per-watt, which is the key value measure for any solar-power-generating system.
After a weak 2012, the fast-recovering PV market has also contributed to a strong demand for solar glass with AR coating, with about 50% growth during each of 2013 and 2014.

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