World’s First Panda-Shaped Solar Farm Begins Operations

The 50-megawatt solar farm is the first phase of a 100-megawatt solar facility and was recently connected to the grid.

Panda Power Plant in Datong Shanxi, China
Panda Power Plant in Datong Shanxi, China

Panda Green Energy, formerly known as United Photovoltaics, brought online the world’s first Panda Power Plant in Datong Shanxi in northwestern China. The 50-megawatt project represents the first phase of a 100-megawatt solar facility and was recently connected to the grid.

Panda Green Energy launched the initiative to build the Power Plan in May 2016, and signed a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Development Program last fall. The construction of the Datong Panda Power Plant officially begun in November.

The panda shape

The solar project is shaped like a panda bear when viewed from above—the black parts of the panda, such as the ears and arms, consist of monocrystalline silicone solar cells, while the white parts are made of thin film solar cells. The facility also includes a youth activity center to teach schoolchildren about the benefits of solar energy. The project’s main goal is to produce electricity—upon completion, the 100-megawatt Panda Power Plants will generate 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of green power throughout 25 years, according to the company. This is the equivalent of saving 1,056 million tons of coal and reducing carbon emissions by 2.7 million tons at the same time.

The company intends to install more panda plants in the upcoming five years as part of their Panda 100 Program. Some of the projects could be built outside of China, under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road economic development strategy.

Image courtesy of Panda Green Energy