Panda power is the new face of solar
A 17-year-old student proposed the look of a new solar station in Shanxi province to promote ecology.[Photo provided to China Daily]
A solar power station shaped like giant pandas opened to the public on July 25 in Datong, Shanxi province, and its owner said similar plants are planned in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Engineers used different kinds of silicon solar cells in black and grayish white to present an image of two baby pandas when seen from above.
The idea came from a 17-year-old overseas Chinese student. She hoped that it would make people think about protecting the environment by using green power.
The project's first stage is operating and was connected to the grid on June 29 with a capacity of 50 megawatts, meaning its average daily output could supply 120 average Chinese households with electricity for a year.
The project incorporates eight industry-leading technologies, according to Wang Jingchao, technical engineer of the power station. "With the new technologies, our plant is estimated to achieve 1,600 hours of full power operation annually," Wang said.
In the next five years, the owner of the solar station, Panda Green Energy, a Hong Kong-listed company, will carry out its "Panda 100 Plan", cooperating with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative to build more panda power plants.
"We have signed an agreement with the Philippines to help them build a solar station," said Wang. "Pakistan, Djibouti, Australia, Canada and other countries are on the list for the next step."
One of the most interesting innovations is dubbed the "panda's smile". The angle of the solar cells can change based on the movement of the sun, making the panda seem to smile at times. Double-sided silicon cells get more out of sunlight.
Teens from around China have been invited to a summer camp hosted by the United Nations Development Programme at the station on Aug 10 to 19 to promote an interest in new energy innovation.
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