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China completes first-phase of 250-acre solar farm aimed at tacking air pollution crisis

China has completed the first-phase of a massive energy project specifically aimed at solving the persist problem it has with air pollution in the country. The construction of a 250-acre solar farm which has been uniquely designed in the shape of a giant panda - also hopes to eliminate the country's dependence on coal.

The new solar plant which has been constructed in Datong has garnered attention from world media for its unique design. Traditionally, most solar farms align their solar arrays in rows and columns to form a grid. But the engineers at China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country's biggest clean energy operators opted to have some fun with the design.

The first phase has now been completed, and it included one 50-megawatt plant, which was completed on June 30th, according to reports emerging from China. The project has commenced operations and is already delivering power to a grid in northwestern China, whilst it has been officially confirmed that the construction of a second panda solar farm will begin later this year.

The solar farm has been affectionately entitled ‘The Panda Power Plant, and according to China Merchants New Energy Group it can produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in twenty-five years. Significantly, it will now eliminate approximately a million tons of coal that would have been used to produce electricity, reducing harmful emissions by 2.74 million tons.

It was further disclosed that China Merchants New Energy Group collaborated closely with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in order to make the Panda Power Plant a reality.

The project is part of an extended effort to raise awareness among young people in China about clean energy. Both parties have indicated its ambition to build more panda-shaped solar plants throughout China in the next five years.