Switzerland Unveils Massive Solar Power Energy Field

June 21, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Switzerland unveiled its largest solar energy plant, covering an area the size of two football pitches and set to supply 300 families with power for one year. Built on the banks of the River Rhone, next to a hydro-electric dam, the plant's 6,000 solar panels will generate a total of 1,000,000 W. The new plant in Geneva represents a 7.5 million Swiss franc (€5,000,000, US$6,000,000) investment, and is expected to break even within 20 years.

Switzerland's overall solar energy capacity is close to 20,000,000 W, meeting barely 0.04% of its overall consumption of 55 billion watts. The share of solar power in the country's energy market is below the north European average, and Switzerland plans to increase its use of alternative energy sources to 10% to 15% of the total by 2025. Hydraulic energy makes up 55% of Switzerland's energy consumption while nuclear energy accounts for 35%.