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Chinese PV Manufacturers Refocus On Africa

Chinese photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers are having a hard time in Europe at the moment, facing looming anti-dumping duties set to thoroughly restrict their ability to expand their presence on the continent. Subsequently, according to China’s information service, Xinhuanet, Chinese PV panel manufacturers are looking to expand into Africa.

Their first stop will be one of the biggest solar power stations on the continent in Garissa, Kenya. Chinese solar panel makers are set to supply the majority of the $140 million needed to build the power station, according to state-owned China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation, the deal’s coordinator. The move will give Chinese manufacturers a base of operation to expand their presence across Africa.

The EU investigation into Chinese solar products has been covered ad-infinitum. The fundamentals, however, are that the EU is set to impose anti-dumping tariffs on imported polysilicon in an effort to curb the sheer number of Chinese imports. 21 billion euros worth of solar panels were exported from China into the EU in 2011, which makes this particular anti-dumping investigation the largest the EU has ever handled. And a recent report published by research group IHS has found that the tariffs will result in a drop of over 1.3 GW of solar power installations in the EU this year.

The tariffs were introduced on June 4 and entail a phased introduction of punitive anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese PV imports set to curtail the country’s expansion into Europe. The move was opposed by many EU member states, not to mention a great majority of the European PV industry.

The European Commission’s decision left a 11.8% tariff on all Chinese solar products which, according to Xinhuanet, will leave Chinese solar companies “mired in debt and overcapacity” forcing them to “find alternative markets.”

Given the numerous walls in China’s continued expansion into the EU, it makes sense that they will divert their attention elsewhere.

This only comes at Africa’s benefit, thankfully, where renewable energy infrastructure is only beginning to become a priority, and where renewable energy has the greatest opportunity to increase the quality of life for the over 1 billion people who call Africa home.

The EU’s decision to impose such heavy-handed tariffs on Chinese imports will surely prove to be a boon for Africa’s burgeoning renewables industry.

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