Lack of electricity fuels further expansion of solar energy
The discussion about the feared lack of electricity seems to be having a positive effect on the expansion of solar energy. Solar energy is booming in Switzerland more than ever. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) expects market growth of around 50 percent for 2022.
The discussion about the feared power shortage in winter seems to be having a positive effect on the expansion of solar energy. Solar energy is booming in Switzerland more than ever. (archive image)
According to the SFOE’s solar energy statistics published in mid-July, the number of new photovoltaic installations in Switzerland rose by 43 percent to 683 megawatts in 2021. This year, the Federal Office expects an increase in solar energy of 900 to 1000 megawatts, as it was called when asked by the Keystone-SDA news agency. This corresponds to market growth of around 50 percent.
According to a spokeswoman, the SFOE currently expects a production of over 1000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per kilowatt (kW) of installed capacity for 2022. In 2021 there were still 895. The long-term average was around 960 kWh.
In 2021 as a whole, the share of solar power production in domestic electricity consumption was still just under six percent due to the weather. According to the Swissolar industry association, solar energy systems supplied 6.5 percent of the electricity required in Switzerland in the first half of 2022.
The SFOE confirms this assessment on request and also expects a slight increase in the current year. With a production of 960 kWh per kW of installed capacity, the current expansion could cover more than one percent of Swiss electricity consumption each year.
Politicians want to counter an impending power shortage, especially in winter, with various new measures that are explicitly intended to promote the expansion of solar energy.
On October 1st, a national road ordinance will be amended in such a way that private individuals will be able to use noise barriers or rest areas along national roads for the installation of solar systems free of charge. The federal government will probably conduct an application process at the end of 2022, in which the corresponding areas can be reserved.
With a new one-time payment for solar systems without self-consumption, photovoltaics in Switzerland are to be additionally promoted from January 2023. This one-time payment is to be up to 60 percent of the investment costs, instead of the previous 30 percent. According to the SFOE, it will be awarded by auction for outputs of 150 kW and above.
The Environment Commission of the Council of States also wants to make progress in the expansion of solar energy. On Monday, it unanimously decided that solar systems will be mandatory for new buildings from 2024. Suitable surfaces of federal infrastructure systems should also be used as best as possible for the use of solar energy. These motions are to be dealt with by the Council of States in the 2022 autumn session.