Europe’s solar manufacturers are facing bankruptcy due to plummeting solar PV panel prices and stiff competition from imports.

The European solar market is thriving, with an unprecedented push to install gigawatts (GW) of rooftop solar and build new solar farms.

In 2022, the EU installed over 40GW of solar - double the amount installed in 2020.

From a total solar capacity of around 200GW today, the EU aims to reach 750GW of solar capacity by 2030. However, Europe remains critically exposed, as the majority of solar components are imported.

It's estimated that less than 2% of European demand for solar is met by products produced in the region, with over 90% of components coming from China.


Like most sectors, significant, if not unrealistic, targets have been set to ramp up domestic production of renewable components, including solar.

The Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) sets a 2030 target, mandating that at least 40% of net-zero technologies, such as solar panels, must be domestically produced in the EU.

However, with European manufacturers unable to compete in a highly price-sensitive industry, these targets may never be achieved.


During her speech on Monday addressing the challenges faced by the solar industry, European Commissioner for Financial Stability Mairead McGuinness did not propose any additional support measures.

She referred to ongoing initiatives within the EU, including a forthcoming law set to be finalised on Tuesday.

This legislation is designed to streamline the permit process for local production and to favour EU-made products such as solar panels in upcoming clean technology bids.

Commissioner McGuinness adopted a measured approach regarding trade restrictions.

"Given that we currently rely to a very important degree on imports to reach EU solar deployment targets, any potential measure needs to be weighed against the objectives we have set ourselves when it comes to the energy transition," she remarked.

In response, SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger acknowledged the Commissioner’s comments, but emphasised the need for further urgent action to support EU solar manufacturing.

“European solar manufacturers are in a different landscape compared to May 2022, when the EU Solar Strategy was announced. Manufacturers are going bankrupt. More support and better access to support are critically needed,” she said.

Industry facing unfair trading practices - Kelly

Seán Kelly MEP, in a statement, urged the EU to protect its domestic producers against unfair trading practices, particularly from alleged Chinese subsidies distorting the market.

"Solar is an extremely important industry for the future and Europe must be a significant part of it.

"We've witnessed remarkable growth, with 56GW of solar capacity installed last year alone. However, we risk undermining this progress if we expose our producers to unfair competition,” he said.

Kelly expressed concern over the industry's future and questioned the efficacy of ongoing legislation negotiations aimed at boosting domestic production.

"Currently, we are negotiating legislation to reduce dependence on China, which accounts for almost 80% of global solar manufacturing. The question is, will this happen quickly enough to prevent our producers from facing economic vulnerabilities?"

He also regretted that some Irish MEPs voted to maintain dependencies on third countries, particularly China, for critical and strategic raw materials.

“If we are to avoid economic vulnerabilities, we need to stand on our own two feet,” said Kelly.

Acknowledging the economic impact of Chinese subsidies on EU solar manufacturers, Kelly underlined the urgency of supporting the domestic industry.

"The situation is troublesome. We might lose a majority of the European industry in the next couple of months if there's no strong political signal," he warned.

He suggested potential solutions, including relaxing state aid laws for solar initiatives and adopting rules favouring local producers for green energy projects.

"These measures could tide the industry over for two to three years when new EU laws favouring local manufacturing take effect."