China embraces Kung Fu Panda Power to electrify its new Silk Road

A solar farm made to look like a giant panda has been connected to the grid in the city of Datong in China’s northern Shanxi province. It will be the first of 100 panda-shaped solar farms that will follow China’s modern Silk Road.

The 50MW Panda Power Plant covers a total area of 248 acres, with the black part of the panda composed of monocrystalline silicone and the grey and white parts made of thin film solar cells.

The panda in the photos of the solar farm bears a resemblance to the panda cubs from Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda films.

Designed to improve "youth engagement and innovation" the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and China Merchants New Energy say they will "work together to promote and popularise the promotion of new energy through summer camps and open innovation design contests".

Image courtesy of Panda Green Energy

The camp "will offer participants a deeper understanding of green energies and first-hand experience of environmental protection, with top notch mentors and facilitators in the field to monitor and provide on-site support".

The UNDP "will identify outstanding, marginalised youth groups in China to develop and strengthen their leadership skills through an international exchange initiative".

There are plans over the next five years build 100 similar plants along the new Silk Road, with some being built outside China.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Johann Balleis

On the subject of pandas, in March this year China announced that it would link up 67 existing reserves to increase the population of wild bears, creating a space three times the size of America’s Yellowstone National park.

In 2016 the International Union for Conservation of Nature removed pandas from the endangered species list, they are now listed as "vulnerable".

Recently the European Investment Bank supported China’s Silk Road strategy and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged an extra $122bn for international infrastructure schemes as part of the development.

Top image courtesy of the UNDP

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