Monday, July 31, 2017

A Giant Panda-Shaped Solar Farm Opens in China

By Asia Pop Culture



China just built a 250-acre solar farm in the shape of a giant panda opening to the public this week outside of Datong (大同市) in Shanxi province (山西省).  This massive plant is actually built by Panda Green Energy funded partly by the United Nations Development Fund.  Once completed, the plant will provide upwards of 100 megawatts of clean energy.  It was announced that the project's first stage was already operational last month.



The panda-shaped plant was proposed in May of 2016 by China Merchants New Energy, Panda Green Energy's largest shareholder.  The project was quickly approved as a way to build grass-root support for sustainable energy within Chinese youth, in addition to generating energy. Hoping to educate the future generations about sustainable energy, the plant not only has the youth-friendly shape of panda, but also houses an activity center for Chinese youths.  A teen summer camp inside the complex is to be held next month.  Many teens from around the country will be invited to the camp.

A lot of artistic engineering has gone into the design.  There are three general types of solar panels used in the world today: Monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline, and thin film.  Forbes reported that Panda Green Energy used both darker monocrystalline silicon and lighter thin film cells to create the Giant Panda visual effect. The new solar power plant in Datong will replace burning 1 million tons of coal in the next 25 years in China.

This is part of a gigantic PR campaign related to Xi Jingping's One Belt One Road Initiative (絲綢之路經濟帶) showing how China continues to lead the world in renewable energy development.  There are 100 panda-shaped solar plants planned in the coming years across China, and in other countries participating in  One Belt One Road Initiative.

Already Fiji announced in May a smaller panda shaped solar farm.  The Philippines has also signed on to the project, while Pakistan, Djibouti, Australia and Canada could be next.   China is anticipated to spend $150 billion per year on the 68 countries that have agreed to the One Belt One Road Initiative.

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