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Renewable Energy

Switzerland - Renewable Energy

Renewable energies have for many years been an important source of power for Switzerland, and are set to supply even more energy in the future. Clean energies are popular with the government and population alike and are being actively encouraged with government subsidies paid to solar, wind and geo-thermal energy producers. The goal is to cut fossil fuel usage by 20% by 2020.

Much of Switzerland's electricity is sourced from hydro-electric power, generated both by plants in mountainous areas and those using the country's large lakes.

Solar energy can be used as a source of additional household energy in Switzerland. This can be photovoltaic, i.e. converted into electricity and stored in a battery, or solar heat panels which can be used for domestic heating. If you do not already have solar panels, you may find subsidies and incentives in place in your local area. If you have a photovoltaic installation which is large enough to have significant output, you may be eligible to sell the energy produced back to the grid. Your local energy provider will be able to advise on whether this would be possible. Note that you are likely to need planning permission. The electricity you receive from your energy provider may include photovoltaic solar power sourced from local installations.

Ambient and geothermal heat found in the air and ground is converted to usable domestic heating via heat pumps. These pumps require a source electricity but present a more efficient and environmentally-friendly use of resources than traditional oil-fired heating. Heat pumps are becoming a popular feature in new residential properties in Switzerland. Existing heating systems can be supplemented by or changed to a heat pump system, but this can be very expensive and will normally require planning permission. A benefit of heat pumps is that they can also be used to cool a property when the weather is hot.

Switzerland has a few large wind power plants and wind energy is seen by the Swiss government as having potential for future expansion. This is not without controversy and there are now clear and specific rules on where a wind farm may be located, and a focus on effectively marketing wind power to pave the way for increased production.

Other cleaner fuels being developed and encouraged include biomass such as wood pellets (made from compressed sawdust) or food bio-waste. Private households and apartment blocks may have the option of installing wood-pellet fired stoves and boilers. Switzerland has not yet taken up usage of this type of heating to the same extent as Austria, Italy, and other neighbouring countries.

Useful Resources

Zurich Renewable Energies Supplier
EKZ, Postfach 2254, CH 8022 Zürich
Tel: 058 359 55 22
Email: kundendienst@ekz.ch or use contact form
Emergencies: 0848 888 788 (24 hours)

SIG: Services Industriels de Genève
Geneva Energy Supplier
Case postale 2777, CH 1211 Genève 2
Tel: 0844 800 808
Email: Use contact form
Emergencies: 022 420 88 11 (24 hours)

A EE (Agency for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency)
Renewable Energy Association
Falkenplatz 11, Postfach, CH 3001 Bern
Tel: 031 301 89 62

Swiss Solar Energy Professionals Association

KWT Viessmann Group
Heat Pump Manufacturer
Rütimoosstrasse 5, CH 3076 Worb SBB
Tel: +41 (0)31 818 16 16
Email: info@kwt.ch

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