Muttsee Dam Wall, courtesy of Axpo

The first large-scale alpine solar plant in Switzerland has been given the green light. The 2 MW solar park on the Muttsee dam in the Glarus Alps will be built by Swiss utility Axpo Holding AG.

Canton of Glarus has approved the construction, together with the Glarus South municipality and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).

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Axpo is currently taking the next steps to enable the plant to be built and commissioned in summer 2021.

Over the past few months, Axpo has commissioned extensive research into wind and snow loads. A study by the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) concludes that high snow loads are to be expected in certain areas of the plant. “A lot of snow collects especially at the base of the dam”, says SLF researcher Annelen Kahl.

In order to prevent damage to the solar modules in the long term, Axpo will be making slight adjustments to the solar plant. Axpo is also examining other variants of the substructure.

Over the next few weeks, Axpo’s solar specialists will continue to work on the specific design of the plant. The application to include the plant in the SFOE’s list of so-called lighthouse projects will be submitted as soon as this process has been completed.

Initial progress has been made with regard to financing, says Christoph Sutter, Head of Renewable Energies at Axpo: “We are currently in negotiations with companies interested in purchasing electricity from the Muttsee solar plant.” Axpo will make the final decision on whether to build the plant during the course of the year.