Li Junfeng, deputy director of the energy research institute of the National Development and Reform Commission that steers China’s renewable energy policy says the country’s solar panel industry is like “a patient on life support”.

Mr Junfeng blames credit fuelled expansion in Chinese solar capacity and told the FT that the industry will have to undergo radical consolidation and cuts to emerge from the “crisis” of overcapacity.

The grave analysis underscores how China, the world’s biggest producer of solar panels, has been hit by oversupply as global demand growth has slowed and panel prices have fallen by 30 per cent over the past year.

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While Chinese solar-panel makers have been hit by antidumping tariffs and countervailing duties in the US, and similar tariffs are under investigation in the EU, Mr Li said the trade tariffs were just the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

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