Fly over “Datong County”, a region in northern China, and you’ll see two giant pandas. One is waving at you. They are made of thousands of solar panels.
Together, and with the other adjacent panels included, they form a 100-megawatt farm covering 248 acres. It’s actually a relatively small solar park by China’s standards – but it is certainly patriotic.
“It is designed and built as the image of the Chinese national treasure – the giant panda,” explains a document from Panda Green Energy, the company that constructed the farm.
China has more solar energy capacity than any other country in the world!
China has more solar energy capacity than any other country in the world, at a gargantuan 130 gigawatts. If it were all generating electricity at once, it could power the whole of the UK several times over.
China is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panel technology, points out Yvonne Liu at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a market research firm. “The market is really big,” she says. “It is like industrial policy for the government.” According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) more than 60% of the world’s solar panels are made in China. The government has a clear economic interest, then, in ensuring that there is high demand for solar panels.