Chinese-backed firms quit Romania solar farm bid amid EU subsidy probe – Renewables Now

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Two companies investigated by the European Commission (EC) for potentially breaching the Foreign Subsidies Regulation with their bids for a solar farm construction in Romania have withdrawn from the public procurement procedure that sparked the probe.

The EC said on Monday it took note of the withdrawal of the two companies, both with China ties, and would close its in-depth investigation as a result.

The companies, one being a consortium between Romania’s ENEVO Group and Longi Solar Technologie GmbH, a German subsidiary of Chinese solar panel manufacturer Longi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd (SHA:601012), and the other composed of two subsidiaries of Chinese state-owned enterprise Shanghai Electric Group Co Ltd (SHA:601727), were being investigated for the possibility of benefiting from foreign subsidies that allowed them to submit an unduly advantageous offer in the tender.

The public tender process, launched by Romania’s Societatea PARC FOTOVOLTAIC ROVINARI EST SA, sought to award a contract valued around EUR 375 million (USD 405.6m) for the construction of a 454.97-MW solar farm (110-MW solar farm, according to the EC’s first announcement, which it later updated).

The solar project is partially financed by the EU Modernisation Fund.

The Foreign Subsidies Regulation states that companies must notify their public procurement tenders in the EU when the estimated contract value exceeds EUR 250 million, and when the company received at least EUR 4 million in foreign financial contributions from at least one third country in the three years prior to notification.

Commenting on the tender withdrawal, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “Solar power is vital for Europe’s economic security. We are massively investing in the installation of solar panels to decrease our carbon emissions and energy bills – but this should not come at the expense of our energy security, our industrial competitiveness and European jobs. The Foreign Subsidies Regulation is ensuring that foreign companies which participate in the European economy do so by abiding to our rules on fair competition and transparency.”

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.082)

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