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World’s largest solar manufacturer to cut one-third of workforce

(The Guardian, 18 Mar 2024) World’s largest solar manufacturer to cut one-third of workforce.

The world’s largest solar manufacturer has slashed nearly a third of its workforce after a cost-cutting drive that included telling staff to only print in black and white fell short and as a chill ripples through the renewable energy sector.

China’s Longi is to cut as much as 30% of its workforce, in an acceleration of cost reductions that began late last year, Bloomberg reported.

It is unclear exactly how many jobs will be lost at the company, which employed 80,000 at its peak last year, as an internal function allowing employees to see the total number of staff has reportedly been disabled.

The renewables industry is facing significant headwinds in the fallout from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. Moscow’s reduction in gas supplies into continental Europe left governments scrambling to beef up domestic power generation, accelerating a shift towards renewables.

However, the resulting higher energy bills pushed up inflation rates, adding costs to renewables supply chains already under pressure from the surge in demand. Meanwhile, oil and gas companies have retrenched from green projects in favour of traditional high-margin fossil fuel projects.

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The Guardian, 18 Mar 2024: World’s largest solar manufacturer to cut one-third of workforce