China has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the European Union over renewable energy subsidies, a source close to the world trade body said Monday.

"I can confirm we have received a complaint from China against ... the EU, Italy, and Greece on certain measures affecting the renewable energy generation sector," the source told AFP in an email.

"China is claiming that certain measures affecting the renewable energy generation sector relating to the feed-in tariff programmes of EU member states, including but not limited to Italy and Greece, include domestic content restrictions and are inconsistent with the WTO rules," he said, without offering more details.

The complaint comes after China last Thursday announced a trade investigation into EU exports of solar-grade polysilicon, and can be seen as an escalation of a bitter trade row with the bloc, which in September unveiled a similar probe into Chinese products.

The Chinese commerce ministry said it would examine alleged subsidies received by the EU producers and exporters of the material, a key component in the making of solar cells, and would probe whether EU firms were selling it at artificially low prices in China.

The row in the solar sector between China and the European Union escalated after Brussels in September launched an investigation into whether Chinese companies were selling panels in Europe at up to 80 percent below actual cost.

EU ProSun, which groups European makers and called for the anti-dumping probe, has also filed an official complaint with the European Commission over alleged illegal subsidies to Chinese firms.

The solar import battle is only the latest in a series of trade disputes between China and its Western trading partners, including cars, steel and rare earth minerals.