05.05.2023 - Axpo is to build its next alpine solar plant in the Disentis ski area in the Canton of Grisons. With an installed capacity of 10 MW, the ground-mounted plant will produce electricity right where it is needed: The mountain railway to the ski area will be driven with sustainable solar power. With the project, Axpo is moving forward with the solar offensive that was launched in the fall of 2022 and making an important contribution to the development of urgently needed winter power capacities.
The alpine solar plant "Ovra Solara Magriel" will be built on an area of 80,000 square metres at an altitude of 2,100 metres near the La Muotta peak. The mountain railway to the Disentis ski area can meet their annual electricity requirements for operation entirely with local solar power. The utilisation of the existing infrastructure, such as the power grid, simplifies the construction of the solar plant. The ground-mounted plant will have an installed capacity of ten megawatts and produce 17 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually, which corresponds to the consumption of 4,000 Swiss households.
Construction is scheduled to start in the spring of 2024. The first section will be commissioned in the fall of 2025 and full commissioning is planned for the fall of 2026. The alpine solar plant will generate valuable winter power during the cold months of the year.
The "Ovra Solara Magriel" project is part of the solar offensive that the company launched last fall. "I am very pleased that we can already announce two projects in the Canton of Grisons. We are rigorously pursuing our solar offensive and ensuring more winter power in Switzerland," says Axpo CEO Christoph Brand. Another 10-megawatt ground-mounted plant will be built as of the fall of 2025 in the town of Tujetsch near the Nalps reservoir in the Canton of Grisons. In 2021, Axpo and IWB built the largest alpine plant at 2,500 metres. The plant in the Glarus Alps confirms that alpine solar plants can supply a great deal of winter power – in the year 2022 the plant generated up to five times more electricity in the cold months as compared to solar plants in the Swiss midlands.
Axpo's solar offensive aims to develop a total of 1.2 gigawatts of solar capacity in Switzerland – enough to cover the annual consumption of over 300,000 average Swiss households. In addition to alpine plants, Axpo also intends to realise ambitious projects in the Swiss midlands, including plants on the roof-tops of industrial buildings and homes, as well as ground-mounted plants.
The emergency federal act (a.k.a. Solarexpress), which the Swiss Parliament passed in autumn 2022, laid the foundations for the rapid development of ground-mounted solar plants for high winter production. This law will only remain in force until the end of 2025. However, sustainable framework conditions for the expansion of power production after 2025 remain important because without regulatory adaptations large ground-mounted installations will continue to face enormous hurdles. Fundamentally, the framework conditions for rapid expansion of all the renewable energies must be improved in the wake of the blanket waiver. Switzerland must be able to increase domestic power production capacities significantly in order to reach the 50 terawatt-hours which will be lacking by 2050. The approval processes must be simplified and accelerated.
More information on Axpo's solar offensive: www.axpo.com/solaroffensive