Kung Fu Panda fans may recognize a friendly face in Datong, China’s Panda Power Plant. A new solar power plant in Datong, China, decided to play it cool with it’s design. Usually solar farms align their solar arrays in rows and columns to form a grid. China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country’s largest clean energy operators, built a 248- acre solar farm in the shape of a cute giant panda, and many see a striking resemblance with a cub from the Kung Fu Panda(Po, from Kung Fu Panda, is that you?).
Called the Panda Power Plant, it will be able to produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in 25 years saving over a million tons of coal or reducing 2.74 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, as stated by the company itself. This solar farm is just the first of 100 planned solar stations shaped just like China’s national animal to be built over the next five years.
The black sections are monocrystalline silicon(light-absorbing part of most solar panels) while the white parts are made of second-generation solar technology known as thin film cells. The image above of the project, which has gone viral, is not an actual photograph but an artist’s conceptual rendering pre-construction. Snopes acquired a drone photo of the actual solar farm, seen below.
There are more such shaped solar farms, one is heart-shaped solar farm known as world’s most photovoltaic plant in France, another one shaped as Mickey Mouse in Orlando. The China Merchants New Energy Groups hope to build more Panda-shaped plants throughout China. In particular solar is blooming and last year China contributed almost half the additions to global solar capacity.
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