The panda solar farm in Datong, China. CHINA MERCHANTS NEW ENERGY/PANDA GREEN ENERGY
A Chinese energy company has just finished building a massive a 250-acre solar farm in the shape of a panda. The first phase of the solar power plant was recently completed, adding 50MW (of the total 100MW) to the electricity grid in Datong, China. The panda shaped plant was proposed in May of 2016 by Panda Green Energy’s largest shareholder, China Merchants New Energy. Panda Green Energy used both darker monocrystalline silicon and lighter thin film cells. This allowed the energy company to stagger the solar panels in an array that mimics the colouring and shape of a giant panda.
The new solar power plant in Datong will replace burning 1 million tons of coal in the next 25 years as China flexes its ability to make rapid improvements in its energy system.
This is just the first of 100 panda-shaped solar plants planned across China and Asia in the coming years.
This is part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative along the historic Silk Road. This initiative, a foundation of Xi Jingping’s foreign policy, aims to place China as a leader in external policy in Asia. The initiative is underpinned by trillions of dollars of infrastructure investment China intends to build along the historic silk road that connects Asia to Europe. China is anticipated to spend $150 billion per year on the 68 countries that have agreed to the initiative.