In the Toules dam near the Great St. Bernard pass (Switzerland), an artificial island with 2,240 m2 of photovoltaic solar collectors has been built. In the canton of Glarus (Switzerland), the wall of the Muttsee dam has been covered with solar cells. These high-altitude solar power plants offer many advantages:
Photovoltaic production at high altitudes is about 50% higher than on the plains because :
- there is less cloud cover and fog
- the surrounding snow is present for longer and acts as a reflector
- the lower temperatures improve the efficiency of the sensors
- the atmospheric layer is thinner and absorbs less radiation
- the water in the dam can have a cooling effect which improves the efficiency of the collectors.
- Solar electricity is complementary to hydroelectric dams:
During the day, solar increases the total generation capacity.
- At night, even if the solar does not produce electricity, the hydro does.
- The addition of solar reduces seasonal variations in production
- Excess solar generation can be used to pump water into the dam. This water can then be turbined according to the demand for electricity. This is what we propose to illustrate with this DIY project.
- Solar energy is renewable and its use is not very polluting. Its development is necessary to achieve the objectives of Switzerland's energy policy, which aims to gradually move away from non-renewable and polluting energy sources.