Switzerland is pioneering construction of solar energy plants at high altitude

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First farm at high altitude in the world was built in Switzerland.Formed by floating panels, it is located on the Lac des Toules reservoir in Valais, at an altitude of 1,800 meters above sea level. This lake already serves as a hydropower station. Behind the project is the company Romande Energie. The solar panels can harvest 50 per cent more power than similar floating solar plants in lower altitude, for a total of 800-megawatt hour production per year. The development and implementation together cost over €2.2 million. The necessary time for construction was six years and ten months. The pilot project needs to first prove it is feasible over a trial period of two years. It could be after replicated on another location, a lac of course. The future electricity output has already been sold.

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But it’s not a project alone. Work has started on constructing Switzerland’s largest alpine photovoltaic power plant at an altitude of 2,500 meters. Energy company Axpo expects the plant to be completed in September to provide electricity for 740 four-person households. The plant is expected to cost CHF5.5 million ($6 million). Switzerland announced in 2019 that it intends to become carbon neutral by 2050 to meet its obligations under the Paris climate agreement.