Not yet sold on the idea of solar plants? Even if it was as solar plant… shaped like a panda? Thought so.
It’s an undeniably creative advertising stunt, and it’s actually something which will definitely make Shanxi province of China stand out. The brainchild of Panda Green Energy (formerly known as United Photovoltaics) and the United Nations Development Program, the so-called Panda Power Plant has been under construction since November 2016. To get the panda shapes just right, the group used thin film solar cells for the white and gray face and belly and monocrystalline silicon solar cells to ink in the black areas.
Progress on the plant is going quite well. The first phase/Panda of the project has been completed and is currently churning out some 50 MW of clean, adorable energy into the Chinese grid. Once fully completed, the pandas will have an aggregate capacity of 100 MW and are projected to provide 3.2 billion kWh of electricity over the next 25 years — equivalent to 1.056 million tons of coal or 2.74 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
But it’s not merely about energy. The Panda project also aims to invest in the future of the communities it serves, and as such, will come equipped with an activity center to educate local schoolchildren about solar energy and its benefits. For a country left struggling with immense climate issues following what may be the biggest industrialization effort ever seen, projects such as the Panda Power Plant are key to a healthier, cleaner future.
Panda Green Energy revealed that more solar farms are planned over the next 5 years as part of their Panda 100 program. These will be built along the Belt and Roads areas that are part of President Xi Jinping’s economic development strategy.