A 2 MW power station is under construction in the Muttsee basin in the canton of Glarus. The project is in the hands of the multinational Axpo.

It’s called “PV Muttsee” and it’s Axpo’s new high-rise solar project. The plant, still under construction, will be built at an altitude of 2,500 meters in the Swiss Alps and, more specifically, in the canton of Glarus.

However, the altitude is not the only qualifying aspect. The plant will be built with 6,000 photovoltaic modules directly integrated into the vertical walls of the dam de Muttsee, with a total installed capacity of 2 MW.

The Muttsee dam is very suitable for photovoltaic energy. We already have an existing infrastructure with connection to the electricity grid and the dam faces south, an excellent location for harnessing solar energy.

Christoph Sutter, director of the New Energies section of Axpo.

The project has yet to receive the final permits, but the developer reports that when the facility is fully operational, albeit with a low output of 2.7 GWh per year, it will provide a significant power generation model. for winter consumption.

Unlike power plants in the plains, the Alpine photovoltaic system generates around half of its electricity production during the winter semester. There are several reasons for this: there is less fog at high altitudes and there is more incident solar radiation. In addition, the efficiency of the panels is higher at low temperatures and the rays are reflected in the snow cover of the modules, which increases the energy capture.

The testing of the new photovoltaic modules integrated into the Alpine dam is a pioneering initiative for the country and, if the results were satisfactory, they could also be replicated, with the aim of helping winter energy production.

As the company itself explains in a press release, Switzerland consumes more energy than it produces during winter, a factor that will become increasingly acute in the years to come with the closure of current nuclear power plants. Axpo is convinced that there is some potential in alpine photovoltaic systems as a possible starting point to support the Swiss Federal Energy Strategy 2050, while producing energy in winter.

It is possible to produce large volumes of energy with photovoltaics. Of course, the Muttsee dam plant is not enough to make a significant contribution. It is necessary to develop other projects. However, this will also require the right conditions in political and economic terms. Currently, the company is negotiating with potential partners interested in purchasing solar power generated by the Muttsee PV project under public-private partnership agreements.

Christoph Sutter, director of the New Energies section of Axpo.

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More information: www.axpo.com