The French photo voltaic business sadly overshadowed by China | EUROtoday

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“Un panel offered for every four panels purchased. » As tempting as it was, this offer launched in mid-February was not enough to replenish Systovi's plummeting order book. Valid until April 30, the promotion stopped abruptly on Wednesday, at the same time as the company in Carquefou (Loire-Atlantique) which offered it, placed in liquidation by the administrative court of Nantes. “A real waste,” sighs Fabien, one of many 81 workers condemned by the closure of the location. Under the hammer of the judges, it was the truth is an journey that started in euphoria fifteen years earlier, boosted by the tax incentives launched as a part of the vitality transition, which was soundly swept away. “Officially, we should have stopped production this Friday, but we have already stopped the machines because our heart is no longer in it at all,” continues Julien, disgusted. We believed in it, we had hope that France's vitality sovereignty could be based mostly on this kind of product, however that was not the case. »

In reality, this painful epilogue was inevitable given notably aggressive Chinese competitors in world photovoltaics. Competition which intensified additional final summer season when containers stuffed with “made in China” panels at knockdown costs landed in French ports by the 1000’s earlier than flooding your complete territory. As a end result, at Systovi, demand was divided by 5 in a couple of months. Untenable!

“We got to this point because we let China plan hegemony”

Faced with this Asian takeover, common director Paul Toulouse didn’t stay idle. Sensing the risk rising, he had sounded the alarm for a very long time to demand protectionist measures from the general public authorities, because the United States specifically did. “We got to this point because we let China plan for hegemony, and now we are running behind,” laments the boss. It is evident that at this time nothing has been accomplished regardless that a easy measure existed. For instance, the distinction between the general value of a challenge with Chinese panels and French panels is round 1,000 euros. However, it seems that each one initiatives obtain a self-consumption bonus of round 1,000 euros. Conditioning this subsidy on the acquisition of panels manufactured in France or in Europe would have made it potential to revive worth equality. We requested for this many instances, however we weren’t adopted, though it was potential for warmth pumps. »

Same powerlessness relating to public markets, the place the sacrosanct rule of the bottom bidder usually constitutes an insurmountable impediment. “To cover a gymnasium, we responded with panels made by people who know French roofs while maintaining valuable jobs here, but we found ourselves rejected in favor of a cheaper offer made by a Chinese industrialist. » No wonder, in this context, that 90% of the two million square meters installed today in our country come from the Middle Kingdom…

To rebalance the balance, Bruno Le Maire launched a “solar pact” firstly of April which is able to combine, amongst different issues, the carbon footprint into the specs to encourage native public orders. Objective ? “Produce in France, by 2030, 40% of the photovoltaic panels that we use,” indicated the Minister of the Economy. Faced with a nonetheless fallow market in France, the place solely 5% of particular person homes (in comparison with 25% within the Netherlands) are outfitted with panels, the announcement has, it appears, not likely dispelled the skepticism of the actors within the sector. Those, in any case, who had come ahead for the takeover of Systovi ended up falling by the wayside, for lack of clear and quick ensures concerning the future. “By buying the company, they would have arrived in the market as we currently know it, with the same difficulties, which made their projections uncertain,” says Paul Toulouse.

A market during which Voltec Solar nonetheless survives. Located round thirty kilometers from Strasbourg, the Alsatian firm is now the final producer of tricolor photo voltaic panels nonetheless in exercise. Until when ?