Axpo Is Building A 10 MW Solar Power System In The Disentis Ski Area
Axpo is building its next alpine solar system in the Disentis ski area in the canton of Graubünden. With an installed capacity of 10 MW, the ground-mounted system will produce electricity exactly where it is needed: In the future, the mountain railways in the ski area will be operated entirely with sustainable solar power. With the project, Axpo is consistently continuing its solar offensive launched in autumn 2022 and is making an important contribution to the expansion of the urgently needed winter electricity.
The alpine solar system "Ovra Solara Magriel" will be built on an area of 80,000 square meters at an altitude of 2,100 meters near the La Muotta summit. The mountain railways in the Disentis ski area can cover the annual electricity requirements for operation entirely with local solar power. The use of the existing infrastructure, such as the power grid, simplifies the construction of the solar system. The ground-mounted system will have an installed capacity of ten megawatts and will produce 17 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, which corresponds to the consumption of 4,000 Swiss households.
Construction will start in spring 2024. The first partial commissioning is planned for autumn 2025 and full commissioning for autumn 2026. The alpine solar system will provide valuable winter electricity, especially in the cold months.
Alpine solar systems are part of the Axpo solar offensive
The "Ovra Solara Magriel" project is part of the solar offensive that the company announced last fall. «I am very pleased that we can already announce the second major project in the canton of Graubünden today. We are consistently continuing our solar offensive and ensuring more winter electricity in Switzerland," says Axpo CEO Christoph Brand. Another 10-megawatt ground-mounted system is to be built in autumn 2025 in the Graubünden municipality of Tujetsch near the Nalps reservoir. In 2021, Axpo, together with IWB, built the largest alpine facility at 2,500 meters. The system in the Glarner Alps shows that alpine solar systems supply a lot of winter electricity - in 2022 it produced up to five times more electricity during the cold months than solar systems in the Mittelland on average.
Axpo's solar offensive aims to build up a total of 1.2 gigawatts of solar capacity in Switzerland by 2030 - enough to cover the annual consumption of more than 300,000 average Swiss households. In addition to systems in the mountains, Axpo also wants to implement ambitious projects in the Swiss Mittelland, including roof systems on industrial buildings, house roofs and open space systems.
Regulatory hurdles continue to slow down solar expansion
With the urgent federal law (so-called Solar Express) in autumn 2022, Parliament created the conditions for the rapid construction of solar ground-mounted systems with high winter production. However, this law only applies until the end of 2025. However, viable framework conditions for the expansion of renewable electricity production after 2025 also remain important, because without regulatory adjustments, large ground-mounted systems will continue to face enormous hurdles. In principle, the framework conditions for a faster expansion of all renewable energies would have to be improved in the course of the blanket decree. Only if Switzerland can significantly increase domestic electricity capacities will it be able to add the around 50 terawatt hours that will be missing by 2050. To achieve this, it is imperative that the approval procedures are simplified and accelerated.