‘Courageous’ push could create 14,000 solar power jobs

Floating barges with solar panels on the "Lac des Toules" reservoir lake in southern Switzerland, on November 18, 2019. Keystone / Laurent Darbellay

Around 14,000 additional jobs could be created in the Swiss solar power sector if there is a post-Covid push, according to a new study.

This content was published on July 10, 2020 - 15:55

A report by Zurich’s University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) estimates that 14,000 new solar jobs could be created if photovoltaic systems can be set up in the areas most readily accessible in Switzerland.

Of these, 12,000 jobs could be added for specialists and technicians involved in assembling solar power infrastructure.

The Swiss Energy Foundation (SES), which commissioned the study released on Friday, said this would be possible if there was a “courageous solar offensive”.

The national Energy Strategy 2050, which was accepted by voters in May 2017, aims to promote renewable energy, ban new nuclear power plants and lower energy consumption. In early April this year, the Federal Council (executive body) launched a consultation process concerning various changes to Swiss energy regulations. One change under consideration calls for financial contributions towards small-scale solar power installations to be ramped up from 2021.

Switzerland currently meets only 4.2% of its electricity needs with wind and solar power, compared with more than 50% for Denmark and 33% for Germany, according to the foundation. The main source of energy in Switzerland is hydropower, which covers 60% of the grid.

The potential to further develop solar energy in the Alpine nation has been revised upwards since the Energy Strategy 2050 was finalised. But the pandemic has unfortunately dampened the hopes of some investors and entrepreneurs, the foundation noted.

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