A snaking wall of solar panels has been attached to Switzerland’s longest dam. The solar dam is helping the landlocked nation maximise its green energy production in the winter months.
The Lake Muttsee dam, in the central Swiss canton of Glarus, is over 7,800 feet (2,400 metres) above sea level and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks – something that the team behind the AlpinSolar project says is a key benefit. “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,” says Jeanette Schranz, communications lead for renewables at Swiss energy producer Axpo.
The dam’s almost 5,000 solar panels produce 3.3 million kilowatt hours of energy per year, enough to supply around 700 houses. Installation of the panels was completed last year and production at the site has already begun. Schranz says Switzerland’s mountains are less affected by fog in colder months, meaning the panels see more sun than they would at lower altitudes. “The reflection from the snow also helps,” Schranz says, adding that “solar panels like the cold and have a higher yield in cooler temperatures.”

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