A combination of new government measures and private investment initiatives will lead to significantly more solar power capacity in Switzerland.
Earlier this month (October 2022), the upper house of the Swiss parliament voted in favour of legislation ruling that from 01 January 2024 all new buildings with an area of over 300m2 must be equipped either with a photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal system on their roofs.
In addition, solar installations must be set up in all suitable areas on federal public buildings by 2030.
The government will subsidise the installations up to 60% of the cost and the regulations will remain in place until power generation from solar energy across Switzerland reaches 2 TWh per year.
Private investment in PV panels
Within the same week of this vote, a new company IG Solalpine has announced plans to develop significant new PV projects.
Solalpine are currently researching potential sites and is particularly interested in ski resorts, as power lines already exist in these areas.
A key rationale for this is that in ski resorts the panels can be installed above the fog line. At valley level, PV panels produce 75% of the energy in the summer and only 25% in winter. However, at altitude that split is closer to 50/50.
According to Jürg Rohrer, professor at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW):
“Solar panels can generate about three to four times more winter electricity per area than in the Swiss Plateau.”