Panda Power Plant: Shaped Solar Panel Array Forms China’s National Animal

The world’s largest solar power-producing nation is showing off its record-setting green energy production through an adorable new array shaped like a giant panda bear, the national animal of China.

This Panda Power Plant in Datong, China, was developed by Panda Green Energy in partnership with the United Nations Development Program. And this first sections of this huge creature-shaped station mosaic have just been hooked up to the grid.

The plant also going to grow — currently at 50 megawatts, the installation will have a capacity of 100 MW upon completion. Over the next 25 years, the array is estimated to provide as much power as 1 million tons of coal and to reduce CO2 emissions by over 2.5 million tons.

The whole panda figure is part of the power production process: darker parts of the animal shape (like legs and arms) are made up of monocrystalline silicone solar cells — gray areas (face and torso) are thin-film solar cells.

An educational center alongside the Panda Power Plant aims to teach children about the advantages of solar power and other forms of sustainable energy. Meanwhile, more panda plants are in planning phases as well across China, and some may also end up outside the country.