The construction of the biggest Solar Park in Switzerland is taking shape as the first photovoltaic panels come on stream. The park will ultimately supply over two million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year.
The EPFL and Romande Energie signed a partnership in January 2009 for the construction of a solar power plant with an output of two megawatts to be constructed on a roof area covering some 20,000 m2. The panels are installed on the roofs of the EPFL’s campus. The first phase of the power plant is currently being installed and its full commissioning is scheduled for October. The two additional phases of the Solar Park will be implemented in 2011 and 2012. On completion, the entire facility will generate over two million kWh per year.
The Solar Park electricity generation plant is also destined to become a major research and development site: One tenth of the park area will be dedicated to scientific research by the many EPFL laboratories working in the field of new energies (integration of cells into the architectural structure, solar cell technologies with colorants, thin layers or nanocomposites, energy storage and distribution). It will provide an actual research laboratory and act as an impressive modern showcase for the formidable growth of these soft technologies.
Based on this project, Romande Energie is now launching an innovative concept called moncarrésolaire: One or more m2 of photovoltaic panel space on the roofs of the EPFL can be rent.This initiative is intended to enable any individual or organisation wishing to make a practical contribution to the promotion of solar energy without capital investment costs or technical and administrative constraints.