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Romande Energie’s high-altitude floating solar farm wins award in 2021 Watt d’Or competition

13.01.2021

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) has today announced the winners of its 14th Watt d’Or national energy awards for excellence in energy. Romande Energie, together with business partner ABB, have won the 2021 Watt d’Or award in the Renewable Energy category, for the solar power plant floating on the Lake of Toules, within the municipality of Bourg-Saint-Pierre.

Romande Energie is delighted to have landed this accolade for its innovation. “Receiving this award gives us a great deal of satisfaction,” says project chief Guillaume Fuchs. “It rewards the efforts of employees working on the project as well as the investment by Romande Energie, which has believed in this power plant’s potential from the outset. Most of all, it’s a tremendous endorsement of our view that the future of energy lies in innovative, sustainability-driven projects.”
 
Romande Energie, working alongside ABB Switzerland, was able to overcome the technical hurdles that arose from operating at an altitude of 1800 metres, where the conditions can be extreme. The Lake of Toules is formed by a dam, making it an ideal place for a floating solar farm because the new power plant can make full use of existing road and power infrastructure. The prototype has produced encouraging early results, prompting Romande Energie to go ahead with the large-scale project. It therefore plans to extend the panel capacity in 2022 with the aim of generating 22 million kilowatt hours – equivalent to the average consumption of 6,100 households.
 
Other industry companies, in Switzerland and abroad, have expressed interest in this system. Talks are also in progress to conduct projects that are even more competitive, building on the experience acquired through this project.
 
This Watt d’Or award will spur on Romande Energie’s ambitious plans to help enact the Energy Strategy 2050 at local and regional levels, by implementing innovative solutions that will quicken the pace of decarbonisation in Western Switzerland.
 
 
Source: press release, Romande Energie
Photo: Laurent Darbellay