Why Are Solar Panels Popping Up on Roadside Walls?

The use of solar panels in production is on the rise, with their installation locations becoming more diverse, from home rooftops to car bodies, and now even roadside retaining walls, as demonstrated in Northeast Switzerland.

Solar Panels on Retaining Walls

This bold move in renewable energy production involves installing solar panels on roadside retaining walls. Such an endeavor isn't just a novelty but forms part of the canton's objective to generate 40% of their electricity from renewable energy sources.

Specifications and Performance

The project boasts 756 panels with a 325 kW power capacity. These panels are expected to produce around 230,000 kWh yearly, which is sufficient to power 52 households. Despite the panels being located at an angle that isn't optimal, they should provide better resistance to Swiss winters and snow. This type of vertical alignment even has the potential to deliver strong performance during the winter months.

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Technical Challenges

Not surprisingly, the unconventional installation location presented certain difficulties. The panels are tilted 75 degrees and fastened to a mounting rail with unique screws and mechanical anchors. To preserve the structural integrity of the retaining wall, the anchor depth was restricted to 90mm. Further, particular components had to undergo a special treatment to resist corrosion.

Economic Benefits

For the canton, there's also an economic advantage. The locally generated electricity can be sold to the local provider, creating a new source of income. This innovative use of space for solar panels could also capture the interest of other communities, sparking similar projects in the future.

Future Considerations

Given the advantages and potential of this project, vertical solar panel installations like this could well be contemplated for other locations as well. This could mark a significant step in how we think about renewable energy and the use of space in our communities.

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