China's new 248 acre solar power plant in Datong, Shanxi has just been switched on and is a world first for a pretty unusual reason - look at it from the sky and you will see a giant panda.

A country that loves its pandas, China is hoping that this new and usual plant will capture the imagination of its young people and get them interested in renewable energy.

The new green energy resource will have a capacity of 100MW when fully connected, providing 3.2 billion kWh of green electricity in 25 years. That’s equivalent to saving 1.056 million tons of coal, or reducing 2.74 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.


The plant is designed and made up of black single crystalline silicon solar cells from a Chinese company and white thin-film solar cells supplied by First Solar in the U.S. "By designing the solar power station into the pattern of a panda, we aim to stimulate teenagers' interest and enthusiasm for solar energy application," said Alan Li, CEO of China Merchants New Energy Group, explaining that their efforts aim to"get the next generation involved in green energy."

To involve young people even further, the company is organising summer camps for students at their power plants to learn more about solar energy and its importance.

While this panda bear is unique at the moment, there are more on the way with plans to build enough power pandas over the next few years to power 3.2 billion kWh of green electricity over the next 25 years.