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Asian Development Bank

50 climate solutions from cities in the People's Republic of China


Panda Green Energy in Datong is building a panda-shaped solar power plant covering more than 1 million square meters, fostering innovation and engaging the PRC’s youth in clean power generation.

Spotting giant pandas in the PRC just got easier, with the development of a huge 100MW solar park in the shape of the national animal. Panda Green Energy, the firm behind the project, has used both darker monocrystalline silicon and lighter thin film cells to enhance the panda’s visual effect. Both are double-sided panels, 20% more efficient than single-sided alternatives. The plant uses azimuth tracking to capture the most energy possible, technology which can also make the panda appear to wink. The first half of the project went online in June 2017. By completion, the panda power plant will generate enough electricity for over 10,000 , homes in Datong City.


In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the panda power plant is becoming a hub for engaging the youth and innovating low-carbon technologies. Summer camps, design challenges, and exchange programs are all planned to promote the development of renewable energy. The innovative design has also hailed significant global media attention, and the project has become a beacon for attractive and engaging low-carbon projects.

Panda Power: Turning the Sun into Fun
The solar PV projects make Datong city change from "coal-mining city" to "new energy capital" (photo by Jieshi Zhang).

The Challenge

The PRC is pushing ahead with a low-carbon future, but engaging the youth and making green attractive are often very difficult. Working with the UN, the panda power plant’s design is making it a hub for innovating the renewable energy future of tomorrow.


Economic  The project is an example of the acceleration of the green economy in Datong, and its novelty features are predicted to bring extra visitors to the area.

Environment Annually, the panda power plant will reduce CO2 emissions by 101,376 tons, as well as SO2 by 1,040 tons and NOx emissions by 960 tons.

Social  Panda power plant has partnered with the UNDP to become a hub for future climate leaders with summer camps and youth exchanges taking place.