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China’s solar billionaire feels the heat as sector faces upheaval

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Financial Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Li Zhenguo, the founder of Longi Green Energy Technology, faces a retreat from ambitious renewable energy commitments due to a global supply glut, leading to thousands of layoffs
• Initially promising a "benevolent and equitable" energy system at the UN climate change conference, Longi is now grappling with a collapse in solar panel prices, forcing significant workforce reductions

🔭 The context: Longi, a major solar panel manufacturer, is affected by oversupply after a production boom, especially in China, where it and other companies have dominated global solar production
• This situation has prompted a reevaluation of growth strategies amidst falling prices and changing market dynamics
• The company's success was previously underpinned by innovations that improved solar panel efficiency and manufacturing processes

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: This development highlights the challenges in the renewable energy sector, including the impact of market oversupply on green jobs and the global effort towards decarbonization
• It also raises questions about the sustainability of aggressive expansion in the industry and the balance between rapid growth and environmental objectives

⏭️ What's next: The industry may see further consolidation as companies adjust to the new market realities, with impacts on global supply chains and renewable energy deployment
• This could influence future international trade policies and the global push for cleaner energy sources, especially considering the geopolitical tensions surrounding China's dominance in renewable technology

💬 One quote: "You have to be very tough at this moment," said Dennis She, a Longi vice-president, highlighting the company's determination to navigate the current industry downturn and maintain its market position.

📈 One stat: Solar module prices have halved over the past year, signaling significant market shifts and challenges for manufacturers.

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