Alpine solar projects

As a planner, BKW is currently working on several alpine solar projects in Switzerland. Through these projects, BKW aims to make a real contribution to​ the expansion of solar energy, low-emission winter energy production and the reliability of supply in Switzerland. In this context, BKW maintains a balance between prosperity and the environment. In selecting its solar projects, BKW takes into account climate and environmental interests and the available grid capacity, and insists on dialogue with everyone involved in the project with a view to securing workable joint solutions. ​BKW’s planned alpine solar installations are not “as large as they can be”: instead, they’re geared towards an optimal balance between electricity production, the protection of biodiversity and grid capacity. 

From the launch of the “Solar Express” to concrete projects

In September 2022, the Swiss parliament approved the “Solar Express”. Under this initiative, the federal authorities will subsidise the construction of alpine photovoltaic installations, which particularly aids domestic winter energy production, until the end of 2025. It aims to reduce Swiss dependence on electricity imports over the winter months while accelerating the energy transition at the same time. Parliament has also been debating whether to accelerate grid projects since mid-2023. A “Solar Express” will hardly work within the designated time frames without a “Grid Express”. As the “Solar Express” only provides for accelerated approval processes for the installed load of alpine solar installations up to the grid connection point designated by the distribution system operator, the “Grid Express” announced by parliament is urgently needed. This would speed up the implementation of grid strengthening measures from the connection point, a prerequisite for accelerated expansion of renewables.

BKW’s alpine solar projects at a glance

Here you will find a list of the alpine solar projects that BKW is prioritising. They are all situated in the canton of Bern. However, BKW also remains open to the idea of more alpine solar projects in other cantons. It has commissioned a study to evaluate the alpine solar potential of various sites throughout Switzerland. Grid connectivity is one key aspect here. If further projects should arise from this and from the ongoing examination of alpine sites for solar installations in general, BKW will announce them in due time.

Visualisation of the alpine solar project Adelboden Schwandfäl
Visualisation of the alpine solar project Adelboden Schwandfäl © BKW

Site (municipality/ies)

Adelboden BE

Partners

BKW, stake: 50%

Licht- und Wasserwerk Adelboden AG (LWA), stake: 40%

Tschentenbahnen AG, stake: 10%

Status 

Approval by landowner: 4 October 2023

Approval by municipal council: 24 November 2023

Capacity

9 megawatt peak (MWp)

Annual output

14 gigawatt hours (GWh)

Specific winter yield (October to March)

685 kilowatt hours/kilowatt peak (kWh/kWp)

Required area

7,5 hectares (ha)

Number of solar panels
(1 solar panel contains 32 solar modules)

around 670

Total number of solar modules

around 21,500

Visualisation of the alpine solar project MontSol
Visualisation of the alpine solar project MontSol © BKW

Site (municipality/ies)

Saint-Imier BE

Partners

BKW, stake: 42.5%

Société des Forces Electriques de La Goule SA, stake: 42.5%

AEW Energie AG, stake: 15%

Status

Approval by Bourgeoisie de Saint-Imier: 1st March 2024

Approval by Conseil de Ville: 14 March 2024

Expected popular vote: 9 June 2024

Capacity

8 megawatt peak (MWp)

Annual output

11 gigawatt hours (GWh)

Specific winter yield (October to March)

545 kilowatt hours/kilowatt peak (kWh/kWp)

Required area

14 hectares (ha)

Number of solar panels
(1 solar panel contains 48 solar modules)

around 400

Number of solar modules

around 20,000

Visualisation of the alpine solar project Schattenhalb Tschingel Ost
Visualisation of the alpine solar project Schattenhalb Tschingel Ost © BKW

Site (municipality/municipalities)

Schattenhalb BE

Partners

-

Status

Approval by Alpgenossenschaft Grindel: October 2023

Approval by municipal council: 2 December 2023

Capacity

8,5 megawatt peak (MWp)

Annual output

14 gigawatt hours (GWh)

Specific winter yield (October to March)

670 kilowatt hours/kilowatt peak (kWh/kWp)

Required area

9 hectares (ha)

Number of solar panels
(1 solar panel contains 32 solar modules)

around 600

Number of solar modules

around 20,000

Visualisation of the alpine solar project Schattenhalb Tschingel West
Visualisation of the alpine solar project Schattenhalb Tschingel West © BKW

Site (municipality/ies)

Schattenhalb BE

Partners

-

Status

Approval by Alpgenossenschaft Grindel: October 2023

Municipal vote: Spring 2024

Capacity

tbd

Annual production

tbd

Specific winter yield (October to March)

690 kilowatt hours/kilowatt peak (kWh/kWp)

Required area

tbd

Number of solar panels
(1 solar panel contains 32 solar modules)

tbd

Number of solar modules

tbd

BKW’s innovative solution for alpine solar installations

BKW has developed an innovative technical solution for alpine solar installations and has patented elements of it. With fewer supports, the construction allows greater access for animals. A frame around the individual panels makes them quick and environmentally friendly to install on site. And thanks to a predetermined breaking point with the lower panels, the construction will remain intact even in a once-in-a-century blizzard. This animated video shows how BKW’s innovative solution works (with subtitles in German and French).

Kraftort und Kraftwerk müssen kein Widerspruch sein

Kraftort und Kraftwerk müssen kein Widerspruch sein

Die innovative technische Lösung für alpine Solaranlagen soll eine Balance schaffen zwischen schützenswerter Berglandschaft und dem ausgewiesenen Bedarf an erneuerbarer Energie.