A Swiss energy firm has installed nearly 5,000 solar panels on the country’s longest dam. The panels will generate clean electricity through the winter, when a drop in rain and meltwater diminishes the production of hydropower across the country.
At 8,000 feet above sea level, the Lake Muttsee dam sees little of the fog more prevalent at lower altitudes. And during the cold months, snow on the mountains reflects sunlight onto the panels. The array will produce enough electricity to power around 700 homes, according to Axpo, the company behind the project.
“One of the qualities of alpine solar plants is that especially in winter they produce up to three times more electricity than a comparable facility in the midlands,” Axpo spokesperson Jeanette Schranz told Reuters.
Last year, Switzerland’s parliament streamlined approval of new solar projects to help ensure a steady supply of power during the winter. Axpo is now aiming to multiply its solar offerings sixfold by 2030, with the goal of producing enough clean electricity to power more than 300,000 homes.