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Solar installations in Switzerland: innovative yet infuriating

solar

Planned solar installation at the Walensee Lake: the protected quarry is to be built over with a power station approximately the size of eight football pitches. © Paul Trummer

Solar modules on ski lifts and mountain-slopes: the legacy of Fukushima and rising electricity prices mean that creative solutions are needed for power production. We offer a summary of Swiss megaprojects and world premieres.
The idea is to build the largest solar installation in Switzerland in a disused quarry at the Walensee Lake. Environmental protection organisations are up in arms: the quarry is a natural site of national importance. "Switzerland has enough roofs that are suitable for this purpose", criticises Anita Wyss of the Landscape Protection Foundation. "There is no need for a standalone installation in a protected, exposed landscape."
A different plan is to meet the electricity requirements of another 1,200 households with a solar installation of around four football fields in size, to be located on an avalanche protection area at an altitude of over 1,800 metres. A test installation was installed in the Graubünden municipality of St. Antönien in November 2011. The University of St. Gallen calculates that Switzerland has some 200 kilometres of avalanche protection areas that would be suitable for solar cell installations.
Solar energy also powers the world's first solar lift in the Safiental Valley in Graubünden: solar panels are installed directly onto the recently opened ski lift and orient themselves towards the sun. The solar installation on the ski lift produces some 90,000 kilowatt hours per year, of which the 450-metre lift uses approximately one quarter each winter season.
Sources and further information: www.sonnenseite.com (de), www.solarskilift.ch, www.spiegel.de/reise/europa/0,1518,803257,00 (de), www.tagesschau.sf.tv/Nachrichten/Archiv/2011 (de)