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Switzerland added record 493 MW solar in 2020, up 48% on year

Highlights

Solar accounts for 4.7% in Swiss power mix

One-time boost for 2021 to cut waiting list

Government targets 700 MW/yr average growth

Switzerland added a record 493 MW of new solar capacity in 2020, bringing the national total close to 3 GW, association Swissolar said July 13.

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Solar accounted for 4.7% of Switzerland's 2020 power mix, which is dominated by hydro and nuclear, it said.

Installation in 2020 grew 48% year on year, driven chiefly by large commercial roof-top systems, with the average system size rising to 24.5 kW.

Total installed capacity was 2.973 GW across 118,000 units.

Battery storage system sales increased 65% year on year, with every sixth residential solar roof-top installed with a battery, it said. With a total 28 MWh of storage capacity, however, that segment remains very small.

Swissolar called upon the government to create framework conditions for annual growth to triple to replace nuclear by 2035 which would required 1.5 GW/year.

The government only targets 700 MW/year growth from 2023 to 2035, it said, with some proposals a hurdle for growth such as market-based compensation of surplus solar fed into the grid.

Switzerland plans to increase its non-hydro renewable power generation to 17 TWh/year by 2035 to secure supply after the nuclear phase-out.

In November, the government boosted 2021 solar subsidies to cut the waiting list of projects, with some CHF470 million ($506 million) for 330 MW small solar and 713 MW large solar projects.

Solar remains the preferred non-hydro renewable source, with some smaller biomass and geothermal projects also in the mix.

Swiss wind power growth stalled over the past decade due to local opposition, but the government adjusted planning procedures, giving cantons more power to approve projects.

Swiss wind association Suisse Eole targets 9 TWh/year wind 2050, more than double the government projections.