In a creative move to generate green energy, two Swiss companies are repurposing obsolete satellite antennas into giant solar panels. This innovative project takes advantage of Switzerland’s mountainous terrain to harness the power of the sun. Located in the town of Leuk in the Valais canton, this installation is the second of its kind.
The mountainous location of these solar panels ensures that they receive more direct sunlight, especially during the winter months, compared to installations in mistier, low-lying urban areas. CKW Group, an energy services provider, assisted Leuk Teleport and Data Center with the repurposing of their antenna. They explained that former satellite antennas are ideal for solar energy systems due to their flexibility in alignment to the sun, which allows them to generate more electricity than conventional solar panels.
According to CKW Group, just one of these repurposed antennas can meet the energy needs of 25 households. These antennas, covered in solar panels that resemble flying saucers, have a diameter of 32 meters and are located at an elevation of 1,000 meters above sea level. This prime positioning allows them to receive an optimal level of sunlight year-round, even during the winter.
In August of last year, the Swiss government launched a voluntary campaign encouraging consumers and businesses to conserve energy in order to prevent shortages of gas and power. Solar energy is being seen as part of the solution to address the challenge that Switzerland is facing, with an anticipated electricity shortfall of approximately 50 terawatt hours per year by 2050. Axpo Group, Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy and owner of CKW Group, believes that solar energy can play an important role in the country’s power mix.