|  Ramzi Chamat

Solar energy in Switzerland: At the top of the green wave.

In a landscape dominated by majestic Alpine peaks and a tradition of innovation, Switzerland is now positioned at the forefront of the green energy revolution. By crossing a new threshold in solar energy production, the nation illustrates its commitment not only to the preservation of its picturesque landscapes but also to the quest for a sustainable energy future. This quantum leap in the use of photovoltaics is not only a testament to technical ingenuity and political will, but also a source of inspiration for the entire world, demonstrating that a harmonious balance between progress and preservation is possible. As Switzerland bathes in record-breaking sunshine, we delve into the nuances of this energy transition, exploring how this small country has become a beacon of light in the use of solar energy.




Switzerland, known for its picturesque alpine landscapes and commitment to sustainable innovation, has recently achieved a significant milestone in the field of renewable energy. The country has experienced an unprecedented boom in photovoltaic (solar) energy production, reaching a new record. This article explores the rapid development of the photovoltaic sector in Switzerland, contributing factors, challenges faced, and future implications for the Swiss energy landscape.



I. The Photovoltaic Boom in Switzerland


In just one year, Switzerland has increased its photovoltaic capacity by about 1500 megawatts, which represents an increase of 40% from the previous year. This growth brings the total installed capacity to over 6200 megawatts. Swissolar, the Swiss solar industry association, estimates that photovoltaic energy will account for about 10% of the country's annual electricity consumption by next year, thus marking an important step towards diversifying and sustaining the national energy supply.



II. Growth Factors


Several factors have contributed to this rapid growth. Installations on roofs and building facades have been preferred, showing a preference for integrating photovoltaic solutions into the built environment, rather than creating large solar parks. This approach minimizes the impact on natural Swiss landscapes while utilizing unused space in urban and peri-urban areas.

The rise in electricity prices and the promotion of favorable policies for renewable energies have also played a crucial role. Government support through subsidies and incentives, especially for installations without direct consumption, has made investing in photovoltaics more attractive for households and businesses.



III. Challenges and Controversies


Despite its success, the rapid deployment of photovoltaics in Switzerland is not without challenges. The main concern lies in solar energy production during the winter months. Indeed, installations produce significantly less energy during this period, raising questions about the reliability and consistency of energy supply. Christian Imark of the UDC highlighted this issue by noting that his solar installation produced only 10% of its potential in November compared to June.


Furthermore, there is ongoing debate over the development of large solar parks in the Alps. While some view these projects as an opportunity to increase renewable energy production, others are concerned about their impact on alpine landscapes and ecosystems.



IV. Future Outlook


Despite the challenges, the future of photovoltaics in Switzerland looks promising. Swissolar predicts that by 2035, about 30 TWh of electricity will be produced by photovoltaics. To achieve this goal, it would be necessary to install 2000 megawatts of power each year. This ambition is supported by the country's energy strategy, which aims for a total of 35 TWh of electricity from new renewable energies, including wind, biomass, and geothermal.


The current momentum suggests that solar energy will continue to play a crucial role in Switzerland's energy transition. However, to maintain this momentum, it is essential to overcome technological and regulatory obstacles and continue to engage the public and stakeholders in sustainable development.





Switzerland, with its commitment to innovation and sustainability, has made impressive progress in the field of solar energy. Photovoltaics, once a minor player in the Swiss energy landscape, is now on its way to becoming a major component of its energy mix. Despite challenges and controversies, the rise of solar in Switzerland offers an edifying example of what can be accomplished in terms of energy transition. With wise policies, continuous investments, and collective will, Switzerland is well-positioned to continue shining in the field of solar energy.

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