EU presses countries to rescue drowning solar industry – POLITICO Europe

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Yet the EU’s initiative, which essentially amounts to asking countries to step in, won’t fully placate anxious solar firms. For months, the industry has been urging the Commission to spearhead an emergency buyout of inventories and further relax EU subsidy rules.

And while the Commission recently began early-stage talks on options to help producers, it has remained largely silent in public on taking any further steps.

Now, the EU executive is arguing that countries “could commit” to several options to help the solar industry, including setting up state-led project auctions to promote the production of solar panels with “high environmental, innovation and labour standards.”

Those measures would de facto favor EU manufacturers over Chinese exporters, whose production processes experts accuse of being tied up with human rights abuses. The suggestion is also largely in line with the bloc’s Net Zero Industry Act, a new bill that aims to boost EU-based production of clean technologies. The legislation was agreed to last month but may not be fully implemented for years.

Other options the Commission mentions include favoring EU producers in an accelerated rollout of “agri-photovoltaics” — the simultaneous use of land for both solar panels and agriculture — and rooftop solar panels on public buildings. It also encourages countries to make use of relaxed rules on state aid for local firms.

The Commission said it would “explore how to further exploit available financial instruments to leverage private finance” on solar production and continue work on boosting jobs in the sector.

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