Fans of Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda films may recognize a friendly face in Datong, China’s Panda Power Plant. The 248-acre solar farm was designed to look like a cute panda, and many see a striking resemblance with a particular cub from the franchise. The black sections are monocrystalline silicon (the light-absorbing part of most solar panels) while the white parts are made of second-generation solar technology known as thin film cells.
This solar farm is just the first of 100 planned solar stations shaped like China’s national animal to be built over the next five years. The farms were designed to promote green energy—especially with young people. The hope is that the kid-friendly design paired with on-site eco summer camps and youth-focused design contests, organized by the UN Development Programme and China Merchants New Energy, will inspire the country’s youth to become future leaders in green energy.
When finished, the Datong Panda Power Plant will be able to provide 3.2 billion kWh of green electricity over 25 years, saving over a million tons of coal, or reducing 2.74 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.