Axpo deploys PV system in sun-tracking satellite dish


From pv magazine Germany

CKW, a unit of Swiss utility Axpo, has installed PV modules in the dish of a disused satellite operated by Leuk TDC in Leuk, Switzerland.

Satellite dishes are idea for solar because they can be flexibly aligned to the sun. In addition, hardly any snow sticks to the modules. The facility in Leuk is 1,000 meters above sea level, and thus above the fog line. This ensures higher yields, even in winter.

The solar system in the satellite dish will supply around 110,000 kWh of electricity per year. Another system on the roof of the data center will supply an additional 550,000 kWh per year.

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Leuk TDC wants to equip two more satellite dishes with solar. It has already obtained a building permit for one of them, and installation is set to begin next spring. The company aims to run its data centers almost entirely on renewable energy in the future, including hydropower.

CKW installed the systems under a contracting model, so Leuk TDC will receive the electricity for a fixed contract period at a fixed price. CKW also handles maintenance. At the end of the contract period, the plant will belong to Leuk TDC. Under this model, the company is shielded from price fluctuations in the electricity markets, without having to invest in its own projects.

There is enormous untapped potential in the solar sector in Switzerland, particularly with ground-mounted systems in mountainous regions. “We also want to increasingly implement large-scale systems in the alpine area, because they are more efficient and can even produce more electricity in winter than in summer,” says CKW CEO Martin Schwab.

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