‘We started planning the project seven years ago and installed a pilot plant near the reservoir. There we tested suitable solar modules, the right inclination and checked the technical and financial feasibility. With this project at 'Lac des Toules' we want to prove that it is possible to realize a floating PV project on alpine area, where the output is 50% higher than in the valley,’ says Guillaume Fuchs, project manager at Romande Energie (interview).
‘The project will prove that a reservoir can be used twice. On the one hand for the production of water power and on the other hand as a carrier for large-area PV systems,’ says Lars Kreemke, project manager at K2 Systems.
The substructure has been developed together with Romande Energie especially for this project and consists of high-density polyethylene floaters and aluminium rails that can carry heavy loads.
In addition, the floaters are anchored in the ground with weights to be able to sink or rise depending on the water level.
‘The project has a 50 percent higher efficiency than a comparable land-based plant. On the one hand, we use bifacial modules, and on the other hand there is higher UV radiation and lower temperatures at over 1,800 meters, which makes the modules more efficient. Moreover the efficiency of the bifacial modules is increased by the stronger reflection of the snow in winter,’ says Guillaume Fuchs.
In addition, the project and the construction of the floating park will benefit from the existing infrastructure on the reservoir, as it has already been used to produce electricity for several years. ‘We find it exciting and useful that someone is trying this out and gaining experience with it for the first time anywhere in the world,’ says Frank Rutschmann, Head of Renewable Energies at the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.
If the tests are successful, the project will be expanded to a total of approx. 10 MW from 2021. This corresponds to an area of about 30 football pitches (218,000 m2).
The floating plant will then cover 35 percent of the lake and supply electricity for 6,600 households.
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