One of Poland’s leading solar power companies, Polski Solar, is building a 10 MegaWatt solar farm designed with a picture of a reclining deer made form different coloured solar panels.
It follows on the heels (hooves?) of Green Panda Energy of Honk Kong completing two Chinese solar installations in the shape of smiling Pandas. The company has plans for 100 more pandas in Fiji and other places.
The Chinese facilities are obviously a marketing tactic that probably works pretty well – the launch of the farms garnered a LOT of international press, including this video from CNN (below) and coincided with the renaming of the company from the catchy “United Photovoltaics Group”.
The Polish solar farm came about for a different reason. The shape of the reclining deer was chosen because of the nearby town that will receive the benefit of the energy: Jelenia Gora – Deer Mountain in Polish.
On a more practical level
There doesn’t appear to be any sacrifice in the efficiency of the solar power plants when different coloured solar modules are used. The Polski Solar deer uses black and blue panels which seem to be identical except for the colouring. The Hong Kong/Chinese installations use regular silicon-based panels for the dark part of the panda and thin-film panels for the lighter parts. Silicon is the standard material for the vast majority of solar installations and thin film performs better in low light.
And more seriously, they do reduce carbon significantly
The Deer Park facility is only 10 MW, but it came about because of Amendments to Poland’s Renewable Energy Sources (RES) Act. The Act promotes the creation of “Energy Clusters”, to encourage municipalities to formally engage in local generation and distribution of electricity. Polski Solar has organized six energy clusters in Southern Poland and currently is in partnership with thirty municipalities.
Green Panda is a serious player in solar energy, with literally dozens of photovoltaic power plants operating and under construction (not in funny shapes) which you can see »» here and plans for 100 Panda Power plants. Their Danong station will have a capacity of 100MW.
The size of and amount of power generation is always tough to compare or visualize, but as a for-instance, if you look at the evolution of the largest power plants in the world, the Adam Beck station in Niagara Falls had a capacity of 150 MW in 1929 and the Hoover Dam in Nevada in 1939 had an initial capacity of 6,000 MW (Wikipedia).
Here’s a size you probably can relate too, though. The whole solar farm is spread over 250 acres.