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Axpo signs first solar PPA in Switzerland

From pv magazine Germany

Swiss energy company Axpo has secured a power purchase agreement from supermarket chain Denner for its 2.2 MW Alpin Solar, which is built at the Muttsee dam, at an altitude of almost 2,500 meters above sea level. The PPA is the first bilateral deal for an unsubsidized solar project in Switzerland.

“We want to promote this pioneering spirit,” said Denner CEO Mario Irminger. He did not provide details on the solar power purchase price, but did state that it was above today’s market price level.

The energy company expects the plan to deliver around 3.3 million kWh of solar power per year, around half of which during the winter half-year, when electricity tends to be scarce in Switzerland. This is possible due to the location in the high Alps, where the sunshine is higher in winter than at lower altitudes as there is less fog and the snow increases yields through reflection.

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In addition, the solar modules will be installed optimally facing south on the dam of the pumped storage plant. It is the highest dam in Europe, said Christoph Brand, CEO of Axpo, when presenting the project. Basel-based energy company IWB is also participating in the construction of the photovoltaic power plant through its Paneco subsidiary and owns a 49% stake in the project.

Brand also specified that the project is being built at a cost of CHF 8 million ($9 million) and that it is not exactly a bankable project. Nevertheless, the energy company decided to implement it in order to set an example for the energy transition in Switzerland. “We also see the project as an important contribution to the discussion for the upcoming legislative revisions,” continued Brand.

Switzerland’s current incentive scheme for renewables is mostly designed for small, residential self-consumption systems. “And we also need large-scale renewables in our country,” Brand added, hinting at the planned decommissioning of nuclear power plants decided by the government.

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Source: pv magazine