Australia’s anti-dumping commission announced on May 14th that they will conduct an anti-dumping investigation on finished and semi-finished Chinese PV module imports.
The commission will be investigating whether there are dumping issues for PV modules shipped from China to Australia between July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013. Relevant information indicates that if the case is established, the commission will report the case to the Congress on October 16th, 2014.
In 2013, Australia’s PV market capacity was 1GW. Meanwhile, Chinese PV imports to Australia were around 700MW, representing 70% of total module demand in Australia, according to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce. In 2014, Australia’s PV capacity is likely to reach approximately 1.2GW. Since there are only 100MW of modules produced in Australia, Australian manufacturers tend to rely heavily on modules imported from foreign countries under a severe imbalance between supply and demand.
The Australian government has gradually cancelled their subsidy plans because they have reached installation target for rooftop systems. In the future, rooftop market growth will have to be stimulated by new business models, such as solar leasing, etc.. On the other hand, Australia has activated Solar Flagships program to stimulate the growth of utility-scale power plant markets.
Regarding Australia’s anti-dumping investigation towards Chinese module imports, below are some of the possible impacts based on analysis by Arthur Hsu, research manager of EnergyTrend:
1. Chinese modules currently account for 70% of total module demand in Australia. Hence, it will challenge local Australian EPC manufacturers’ and system investors’ costs once the case is established. In the meantime, relevant Australian manufacturers will start to look for alternative solutions and may turn to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan for more options.
2. Although Australia’s PV market size is relatively small, the chance for Chinese manufacturers to give up on Australia is slim as Australia remains one of the top-ten export markets for China. In order to avoid the anti-dumping investigation, Chinese manufacturers may outsource to Taiwanese manufacturers for OEM and shipment, benefitting Taiwanese module manufacturers.
TrendForce believes that it will require negotiations and compromises before the final result for Australia’s anti-dumping investigation can be determined. The final result is still contingent upon future developments. Yet, it may become a common situation for Chinese manufacturers to deal with more anti-dumping and anti-subsidy issues later on. As such, Taiwanese manufacturers will play more important roles within global PV supply and demand in the future. Thus, it’s essential for Taiwanese manufacturers to think about how to avoid the same thing happen to them while expanding market opportunities.