China connected a panda-shaped solar power plant to the grid last week in Datong, a city in the northern province of Shanxi.
Panda Green Energy in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program, has finished the first phase of the project, connecting 50 MW to the grid. The final plant is expected to produce a total capacity of 100 MW.
“A 100 MW Panda Power Plant can provide 3.2 billion kWh of green electricity in 25 years, equivalent to saving 1.056 million tons of coal, or reducing 2.74 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.” Panda Green Energy said on their website.
“Designing the plant in the shape of a panda could inspire young people and get them interested in the applications of solar power,” Panda Green Energy’s CEO, Li Yuan, told state-owned Xinhua in May last year.
It is built with two types of solar panels, white thin film photovoltaic (PV) cells and black monocrystalline silicon PV cells.
It is estimated that the solar plant will be able to provide 3.2 billion kWh hours of green electricity to homes in about 25 years. The power plant is expected to cover around 1,500 acres when finished.
Panda Green Energy is hoping to build panda-shaped power plants in other countries in central and Southeast Asia, too.
The Panda Green Energy company is planning to expand into countries like Fiji and the Philippines, and wants to build over 100 panda-shaped plants in the next five years. The plants will include motifs inspired by local animals, like the koala or rhinoceros.
“I believe that the panda solar power plants will become a tourist hotspot, and in future we’ll export these panda power plants to other parts of the world,” Li told Xinhua.