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BKW already announced at the beginning of 2023 that it was examining various locations for Alpine solar plants. The utility is now presenting six specific projects that it intends to build: Adelboden Schwandfäl, Montsol, Schattenhalb Tschingel Ost, Schattenhalb Tschingel West, Grindelwald Gemschberg and Grindelwald Oberjoch. Approval has already been granted by the respective municipalities for the Adelboden Schwandfäl, Montsol and Schattenhalb Tschingel Ost projects.

70 megawatts produce a relatively large amount of winter electricity

The Schattenhalb Tschingel West project will be submitted to the municipality for a vote in spring 2024. The two projects in Grindelwald are still in negotiations with the landowners. All of the planned plants together have an installed output of around 70 megawatts. This means that a total of almost 100 gigawatt hours will be produced each year. Enough to supply around 20,000 four-person households on average.

See also: Axpo plans to build an alpine solar plant in Glarus Süd

The winter half-year, i.e. the months of October to March, accounts for just under 45 gigawatt hours, or around half of the solar power. All six projects fulfil the conditions for funding under Article 71a of the Energy Act, the Solar Express passed by Parliament in September 2022.

Solar express needs grid reinforcements

A key success factor for the Alpinsolar projects is the ability to connect to the distribution grid and reinforce it by the end of 2030 at the latest, as the Solar Express stipulates that at least ten per cent of the total expected production of the plants must be consumed locally or fed into the grid by the end of 2025 – and 100 per cent by the end of 2030. According to BKW, this also requires faster authorisation procedures for grid reinforcements in order to increase the capacity of the electricity grid. (nhp/mfo)

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