Méribel has joined the increasing number of ski resorts to deploy solar panels on their ski lifts. This winter look out for the unique PV panels on the roof of the mid-station of the Saulire Express gondola.
In the summer of 2022, 182 solar panels, measuring one meter by two meters each, were installed covering an area of 400 m2 at a cost of €200,000.
Iain visited in January 2023:
Dual-sided panels increase energy production
Each panel is equipped with solar cells on both sides. The side facing the sun produces energy as a conventional solar panel, while the rear also produces energy thanks to the ‘albedo’ effect (the reflection of light from the snow). Méribel is the first ski resort to be equipped with this technology.
Production from these panels could reach 122,000 kilowatts per year. That’s not quite enough for the gondola to be fully self-sufficient, but it would represent a “significant part” of its electricity demands, according to Xavier Duport, manager of Sunwind Energy, which installed these panels.
When the gondola is not being used, the electricity will be fed back into the resort’s network.