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Switzerland's largest alpine solar plant now in full operation


01.09.2022 - AlpinSolar, the largest alpine solar plant in Switzerland, is now fully operational. During the winter months, the plant, 2,500 metres above sea level, will produce about three times more power than a comparable facility in the Swiss midlands, benefitting from reflections off the snow and its location above the fog. AlpinSolar will make an important contribution to the energy transition and supply solar power to counteract the winter power gap. The pioneering plant was realised through a cooperation between Axpo, IWB and Denner.

Constructed by Axpo and IWB, the city of Basel's energy utility, AlipinSolar is located on the Muttsee dam high in the Galrus Alps. The innovative project generates climate-friendly electricity from some 5,000 solar panels. Producing electricity for the first time last autumn, as of today the plant is in full operation. Under a power purchase agreement, the retailer Denner will purchase all the solar power produced during the first 20 years of operation for use in its stores.

Higher solar yield during winter months

The 2.2-megawatt solar plant will produce approximately 3.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. Christian Heierli, Axpo’s Overall Project Manager of AlpinSolar, explains, "The solar panels that were already in operation during the winter of 2021/22 achieved a very high solar output and demonstrated the value of alpine photovoltaics." 

During the winter months, alpine solar plants produce three times more power than comparable plants in Switzerland’s midlands. There is a huge demand for this winter electricity in the power mix because Switzerland needs significantly more renewable production capacities during the colder months of the year.

Obstacles for alpine solar plants

Alpine solar plants are still rare in Switzerland. Today, there is no de facto legal foundation for solar plant construction permits outside building zones. Since 1 July 2022, revision of the Spatial Planning Ordinance has seen some minor improvements concerning construction on facades, dams and noise protection walls. However, the expansion of renewables and securing of long-term energy supply in Switzerland will require the approval of ground-mounted plants.

You can find more information about AlpinSolar, including a fact sheet, articles, photo and video content, on www.alpinsolar.ch

About Denner: Denner is a leading discounter in Switzerland and present as a local supplier in the rural and urban areas where its customers live and work. Denner offers a comprehensive range of products for everyday needs at over 840 locations. In 2021, the discounter employed over 6000 people. To prevent this growth from impacting the environment, Denner has defined ambitious goals in its sustainability strategy and is investing in innovative projects in order promote responsible action inside and outside the company.

About Axpo: Axpo is driven by a single purpose – to enable a sustainable future through innovative energy solutions.  Axpo is Switzerland's largest producer of renewable energy and an international leader in energy trading and the marketing of solar and wind power. Axpo combines the experience and expertise of more than 5,000 employees who are driven by a passion for innovation, collaboration and impactful change.  Using cutting-edge technologies, Axpo innovates to meet the evolving needs of its customers in over 30 countries across Europe, North America and Asia.

About IWB: IWB is the company for energy, water, mobility and telecommunications. It provides these services to its customers in the Basel region and beyond with commitment, expertise and reliability. IWB is a leading service provider for renewable energy and energy efficiency. The company is working to achieve full supply with renewable energies to enable climate-friendly, efficient energy use. Today, IWB produces more renewable electricity with its own plants than its customers in Basel consume. IWB is making targeted investments in the expansion of modern infrastructure and developing new business models.

Axpo Holding AG

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