As a bid to get kids interested in clean energy, a Chinese solar power company has just finished the first phase of a 100MW solar power plant… in the shape of a panda!
The creative PR stunt was done by Panda Green Energy, who released that the plant’s first half with 50MW of capacity installed, was connected to the Datong electricity grid in China on June 29.
The image of the project has gone viral around the world; however it is not actually a photograph but a conceptual construction by an artist pre-commencement.
A photo of the actual solar farm was acquired by Snopes via drone, as seen below.
A combination of dark monocrystalline silicon, the light-absorbing material used in many solar cells and lighter in colour thin film solar cells was used by Panda Green Energy to create the solar farm to look like China’s national animal.
The plant may not be equally as vivid as the sketch, however it is still a huge addition to China’s solar fleet.
The company stated the plant will reduce the need for 1 million tons of coal to be burnt in the next 25 years.
China Merchants New Energy initially proposed the plant in May last year, whom are the biggest shareholder of Panda Green Energy.
It was then announced in September in collaboration with a project with United Nations Development Program, with the aim of engaging youth in issues of sustainable development.
China’s “Belt and Road” initiative also incorporated the Panda Power Plant, which is an ambitious plan to invest in development projects in countries on the old Silk Road.
Datong’s new plant in estimated to be the first of 100 plants shaped like pandas and other various animals around China and other places. A project in Fiji was recently announced.
The Panda Power Plant project is China’s latest example of their commitment to scaling up solar and other sources of renewables, as well as reducing coal and eventually phasing it out altogether.
China is on track to exceed the commitments made at the Paris Climate Summit, unlike the US.
China is continuing to lead the world in renewable investment, generation and capacity. Solar power is booming and in 2016 China contributed close to half the additions to global solar capacity.
Design sketch of Fiji Panda Power Plant via Panda Green Energy Group Limited