Swiss solar association calls for higher PV targets

In 2011, around 100 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic capacity was added to Switzerland grid, thus bringing cumulative capacity to the grand total of 210 MW. For a country, which pioneered cost recovery feed-in tariffs (FITs) in 1991 (which later became known as the Burgdorf model), it has fallen way behind in the solar stakes – something that has not passed association president and national councilor, Roger Nordmann by.

For him, while the 2011 installation figures correspond to more than a doubling of the market, they also raise "clear political demands". Namely, he believes more photovoltaic market growth is needed, in order to allow for the technology to play the "necessary central role in the energy transition". This requires a "rapid unblocking" of the country’s FIT system (KEV), since the proposed annual photovoltaics quota of 50 MW for 2013 is deemed "unacceptable".

Nordmann states that the installation rate must be increased 12-fold in the next eight years. "If one installs instead of 100 MW, 1,200 MW annually up to 2020, 12 million kilowatt hours of solar electricity could be produced up to 2025, which represents 20 percent of Switzerland’s electricity consumption," he said. Thus, half of the nuclear phase out could be replaced with photovoltaics alone. Furthermore, he pointed to the fact that in the past four years, the cost of photovoltaics has halved.

At the start of February, new FIT rates were announced for Switzerland. At the time, the Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) said a new 10 percent cut would be added to the annual eight percent reduction, which came into effect on January 1, 2012, on March 1. This meant that tariffs decreased by 18 percent.

DETEC added that the rates would again be reviewed mid-year, due to the "large uncertainties concerning the price development of modules".

See the FIT rates.