Baoding — The smoggy city of Baoding is known for two things: donkey burgers, and solar panels. An industrial centre just south of Beijing — 45 minutes via high-speed rail — the city styles itself as “Power Valley” because it is home to so many solar manufacturers.

But for Vincent Yu, deputy general manager at Yingli Solar, one of the first renewables companies to set up in the city, business has been difficult lately. “These last two years, there has been a lot of pressure. The subsidies for solar projects have fallen,” Yu says. New solar installations in China — running at 53GW in 2017 when demand seems to have peaked — will be about 40% lower this year, he estimates.

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