Solar islands on Swiss lakes: a checklist and recommendations for choosing the ideal location« Back
The purpose of floating solar islands is to allow the reservoirs of Swiss dams to have a dual use. They would allow pumped storage and exploit the potential for sun exposure to deploy floating solar panels.
The Romande Energie company, for example, is launching a project for a floating solar power plant on Lake Toules in Valais. The project is being investigated and plans to deploy a test solar park composed of a mat of 36 floats anchored to the shores of the lake, which will produce 750,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, the equivalent of the consumption of 208 households (link).
According to current studies, the Lac des Toules solar park is capable of producing 50% more energy than a park with the same surface area on the plain. The reverberation of light on the snow partly explains this additional yield.
Checklist and recommendations
The HES-SO Wallis-Wallis presented research work in this field at the International Mountain Conference 2019 (IMC2019) in Innsbruck, Austria. The study highlights the potential of Alpine sites and highlights the importance of the landscape value to be protected and the fragility of the environment. The researcher, Valentino Piana, expanded his research by providing a detailed checklist to maximize positive and minimize negative impacts, including highlighting factors that could prevent the deployment of solar islands in some lakes.
Tourism and socio-economic development
The study aims to provide positive externalities and socio-economic and tourism development for mountain lakes. The result is a balanced vision of the desired energy future, where renewable energy production is integrated into broader sustainability objectives and measures. This scientific contribution provides a number of recommendations addressed to politicians, regional authorities, hydropower operators, investors, municipalities, local communities, civil society and energy experts.