Editor's note: This story originally misidentified GE's customer as the publicly traded Harbin Electric. The similarly named Harbin Electric Co. Ltd. is a separate company.

 How do you say "that was fast" in Chinese? Ask General Electric (NYSE: GE).

Last week, we discussed GE's announcement of a new "FlexEfficiency" power plant, and how it had the potential to "save the solar industry." A fast start-up generator that's also reportedly the most efficient gas turbine on the planet, FlexEfficiency sounds remarkably well-suited to filling the gap in energy demand in countries experimenting with solar and wind -- two technologies prone to power outages on doldrum-y days and under overcast skies.

GE unveiled FE in Europe last week, in hopes of attracting interest from the solar players there. But this morning it notched its first two sales half a world away, when China's Harbin Electric Co. Ltd. agreed to buy two FEs for an undisclosed price to back up its wind power projects. (The deal is also conditional on Harbin's winning contracts where it can deploy the FEs.)

Foolish takeaway
It's an auspicious start in an unexpected location -- but it's only a start. GE says it has spent $500 million on research and development getting the FE up to speed. We'll need to see additional sales announcements, ideally from key players in the European solar market -- such as First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) -- to be sure FE will earn back GE's investment.

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Fool contributor Rich Smith holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of First Solar. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.