Swiss solar power breaks records but still misses targets

Solar panels have become especially popular in industrial, commercial and service industry sectors. © Keystone / Thomas Delley

Switzerland remains far from its target of shifting away from non-renewable fuel sources, despite a record-breaking increase in the number of solar panels installed last year.

This content was published on July 14, 2021 - 15:09

Almost 50% more solar panels were put up in Switzerland in 2020 than in 2019, according to statisticsExternal link released by the Swiss industry association Swissolar on Wednesday.

Solar panels have become especially popular in industrial, commercial and service industry sectors. They now provide enough energy to power over 4.7% of Switzerland’s entire energy consumption, up from 3.8% in 2019, Swissolar said in its annual report. Households had also increased their installations of both solar panels and battery units, it noted.

The number of battery storage units is up 65% on the previous year, and 15% of solar panel purchases made by single-family homes were made in conjunction with battery storage unit purchases in 2020. This combination is used to store generated power for later use and avoid the low re-payment tariffs that local energy suppliers offer, Swissolar said.

Missed targets

Despite the seemingly positive news, Swissolar said Switzerland was still far from achieving its planned shift away from nuclear and fossil fuel power.

In order to realise this aim, the country would have to increase its yearly solar power output to 45 terawatt hours. Achieving this within the next 30 years would require a 15-fold increase in the number of installations, said David Stickelberger, Swissolar’s managing director.

A study published by the Swiss Energy Foundation in mid-June said Switzerland trailed other European countries when it comes to solar energy production, coming 24th out of the 28 European states studied.

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