Switzerland approves solar obligation for new buildings
Solar panels installed at a mountain hut in Lenzerheide. Author: SteFou!. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic
Switzerland has introduced a package of measures that make the installation of solar panels on some new buildings mandatory and ease the construction of large-scale photovoltaic (PV) plants in the Alps.
The measures were approved by the Council of States, the upper house of the Swiss parliament, on Friday.
Under the new legislation, new buildings with an area of over 300 sq m must be equipped either with a PV system on their roofs or facades or with a solar thermal installation. The separate cantons are entitled to introduce the solar obligation also for buildings with an area of less than 300 sq m and to approve exemptions from the obligation.
Additionally, solar installations must be set up in all suitable areas on federal public buildings by 2030.
The new regulations provide also for the accelerated realisation of solar projects, especially in the alpine region. These apply to PV systems with an annual production of at least 10 GWh and an output in the winter season of at least 500 kWh per 1 kW of installed capacity. Such projects will be considered site-specific outside the construction zone.
Projects in this category, which start feeding at least part of their electricity into the power grid by the end of 2025, will also receive an investment subsidy from the state, covering up to 60% of the investment cost.
These regulations will be valid until power generation from solar energy across Switzerland reaches 2 TWh per year.
The changes were resolved by the Energy Commission of the Federal Council of States in the summer.
Local renewables company and energy trader Axpo Holding AG welcomed the Swiss parliament's commitment to speed up the expansion of renewable energy and cushion potential liquidity bottlenecks in the short term, noting that this creates greater legal certainty.
More specifically, the company appreciates the designation of large, ground-mounted solar farms with a significant contribution to winter supply as site-specific and of fundamentally overriding national interest. However, Axpo is calling for improving the ability to license renewable installations in the medium and long term as these regulations are limited in time.
Anna is a DACH expert when it comes to covering business news and spotting trends. She has also built a deep understanding of Middle Eastern markets and has helped expand Renewables Now's reach into this hot region.