A leading solar energy provider is sponsoring a soccer championship in Beijing later this month in celebration of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and China.

Germany’s FC Bayern Munchen, one of the top soccer clubs in the world, and Beijing Guoan, a popular Chinese soccer team, will duel at the “Yingli Cup” July 24 at the Workers Stadium in Beijing. The game is sponsored by Yingli Green Energy, one of the world’s largest vertically integrated photovoltaic manufacturers.

The soccer match is a manifestation of the company’s desire to use innovative marketing techniques to advance social responsibility. The game will be the first of its kind to be hosted by a renewable energy company in China.

“We are excited that the Chinese fans will be able to enjoy and watch live a match between two of the most popular teams this summer in Beijing,” said Liangsheng Miao, chairman and chief executive officer of Yingli Green Energy. ”We are also honored to be utilizing our global marketing platforms not only to contribute to diplomatic relationships between China and Germany but also to give back to the community.”

There’s a legitimate link between soccer and solar energy, according to the Yingli Green Energy website. Viewership of the Men’s World Cup in the U.S. grew by 68 percent from 2006-2010, according to the site. During that same period, American solar system installations grew by 527 percent. And four of the top five solar energy markets are among the top five in U.S. Soccer attendance.

In 2010, the company sponsored the FIFA World Cup in an effort to capitalize on this soccer-solar energy connection. The company is currently signed on to sponsor the U.S. men’s, women’s and youth soccer teams through 2014.

Headquartered in Baoding, China, Yingli Green Energy manufactures every component of the solar systems it sells, from the solar cells to the modules that contain them. The company distributes its product to Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, South Korea, China and the United States.

Main photo credit: pj_vanf/Flickr