Solar energy production in Swiss Nature Parks

1, 19.02.2024

In late 2022, the Swiss Parliament adopetd a new law called «Solar express», to produce more solar electricity in winter as soon as possible. As the flat parts of the country are often under cloud cover in winter, the new solar parks should be constructed in the Alps. To speed up the development, the law gives solar parks the priority against most nature protection instruments – thus also Nature Parks.

As no spatial planning process defined the best sites for solar parks and the government promised subsidies of up to 60%, energy companies got into contact with communities directly– including some within Nature Parks. Once the project perimeter was defined, the local population voted on the solar parks.

In the Nature Park Binntal, the population of one community voted in favour of a solar park. In the Nature Park Pfyn-Finges, three votes in three different communities took place. One community approved their solar project whereas the two other communities rejected their projects. The same outcome (rejection) could be observed in the Nature Park Ela.

It is suprising that solar park projects can be planned within Nature Parks in Switzerland. But the Nature Parks focus the discussions around the landscape values, because the communities risk loosing their label.

© G. Plassmann, ALPARC 

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