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Producing more solar energy in winter thank to snow

Installing photovoltaic panels at higher elevations could significantly reduce the power deficit experienced by this renewable energy in winter, according to a joint study by the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF and the Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences (CRYOS) at EPFL. The researchers also investigated the effects of increased surface reflection from snowcovered ground and of the inclination of installed solar panels on the amount of electricity generated. “Our study shows that PV systems in the mountains don’t just produce more, but also at times when it is most needed. Consequently, such installations can reduce the winter supply gap, which will result from Switzerland’s nuclear phase-out much more efficiently than conventional roof top installations in the Swiss Plateau,” explains Annelen Kahl, first author of the study. Based on these findings she is now launching the start-up SUNWELL to promote PV installations in mountainous areas and received ENAC’s Innoseed grant to develop a successful business model.