So­lar and foot­ball, a per­fect match

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HOME & LIVING -

YINGLI So­lar gets asked many times why they spon­sor so many foot­ball events (like US Soc­cer, FC Bay­ern Mu­nich, and the FIFA World Cup)? What’s the con­nec­tion be­tween so­lar and foot­ball?

It isn’t al­ways im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous. While they may seem dif­fer­ent on the sur­face, there are deep affini­ties be­tween the world’s most pop­u­lar game and the world’s most abun­dant en­ergy re­source.

One of the rea­sons why foot­ball is the most com­monly played sport in the world is that it’s so sim­ple: all you need is a (rel­a­tively) round ball. To en­joy the game, you don’t need ex­pen­sive in­fra­struc­ture or equip­ment, and you don’t have to be wealthy or own a big piece of land. Back-al­ley matches can be ev­ery bit as fun – and com­pet­i­tive – as the FIFA World Cup.

FIFA sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jerome Val­cke at­tributes the pop­u­lar­ity of foot­ball to how nat­u­rally people across the world are able to pick it up.

Hu­mans can kick a ball as early as age two. It’s an in­cred­i­bly nat­u­ral move­ment that can be per­formed on any sur­face: from a field, to a floor, to the cracked pave­ment of an old coun­try road. It’s the sim­plic­ity of foot­ball that brings people to­gether every­where, across na­tions, cul­tures, com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies.

Ori­gins of the beau­ti­ful game

Foot­ball is one of the first and old­est games in hu­man civil­i­sa­tion. Ac­cord­ing to FIFA, the ear­li­est record of a game sim­i­lar to present-day foot­ball comes from China.

A Chi­nese mil­i­tary man­ual from the sec­ond and third cen­turies BC de­tails a team ex­er­cise called cuju, where par­tic­i­pants tried to kick a ball through a net and, more im­por­tantly, were not al­lowed to use their hands.

As the first Chi­nese com­pany to spon­sor the FIFA World Cup, Yingli So­lar takes great pride in serv­ing as a bridge be­tween the in­ter­na­tional foot­ball com­mu­nity and the coun­try whose an­ces­tors were (at least par­tially) re­spon­si­ble for the great game’s de­vel­op­ment and pro­lif­er­a­tion.

Of course, China isn’t the only coun­try with a claim to foot­ball’s her­itage. In the fourth century, the Greek play­wright, An­tiphanes, ref­er­enced a ball game called Episky­ros, be­lieved to have more closely re­sem­bled rugby be­cause play­ers would throw and catch the ball. Count­less other tribes, cul­tures, and com­mu­ni­ties have de­vel­oped their own ball games sim­i­lar to foot­ball, from mob foot­ball in Me­dieval Europe to the Aztec game ulama.

A global star

Like foot­ball, so­lar en­ergy has also been around ba­si­cally for­ever. The sun has been cen­tral to hu­man life, cul­ture, re­li­gion and phi­los­o­phy since the dawn of civil­i­sa­tion, as a shared global re­source that tran­scends man-made bound­aries. It’s no won­der that the Sum­mer Sol­stice is ob­served around the world, with re­li­gious and cul­tural events like St John’s Day, Tire­gan and Ku­pala Night.

And like foot­ball, so­lar en­ergy is re­mark­ably sim­ple and ac­ces­si­ble. As far back as the sev­enth century BC, hu­mans be­gan us­ing glass to mag­nify and con­cen­trate the sun’s en­ergy to light fires.

Even to­day, with ad­vanced so­lar tech­nol­ogy, it’s never been eas­ier to har­ness our shared global re­source and to turn your house into a power plant.

Just ask US Women’s Na­tional Soc­cer Team Leg­end Mia Hamm, who with her hus­band, cham­pion base­ball star No­mar Gar­ci­a­parra, re­cently de­cided to go so­lar.

She ex­plains: “As par­ents and ath­letes, No­mar and I are es­pe­cially proud to pro­mote so­lar en­ergy be­cause we be­lieve a healthy en­vi­ron­ment is the most im­por­tant legacy we can leave to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Our hope is that shar­ing in­sights from our own in­cred­i­bly easy and re­ward­ing so­lar in­stal­la­tion will en­cour­age fam­i­lies in the foot­ball com­mu­nity and be­yond to go so­lar, too.”

Yingli So­lar’s goal is to make so­lar en­ergy af­ford­able for all, and do­ing that re­quires tran­scend­ing tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, cul­tural and eco­nomic bound­aries.

It also re­quires the sup­port of lead­ers like Mia Hamm who are tak­ing a stand for our planet and our shared fu­ture.

If, as an in­dus­try, we con­tinue to ac­cel­er­ate, so­lar tech­nol­ogy will soon be ev­ery bit as preva­lent as back-yard foot­ball matches.

Hope­fully, our par­tic­i­pa­tion in events like the FIFA World Cup will help raise aware­ness for so­lar tech­nol­ogy and the global im­per­a­tive to tackle cli­mate change. And hope­fully, we will never for­get that we’re all in this to­gether: all un­der one sun.

For de­tails, log on to www. yingliso­, http://face­book. com/yingliso­lar, Twit­ter and IG: @ yingliso­lar.

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