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Axpo supplies energy to Swiss Denner supermarkets

The company with its Italian headquarters in Genoa builds the largest Swiss photovoltaic system

Axpo and IWB collaborate on the implementation of the largest photovoltaic system in Switzerland. The two partners will install and commission the pioneering 2.2 MW project on the Muttsee basin. A 2.2 MW plant that will supply energy to the Denner supermarket chain which has decided to draw on the solar energy that the plant will produce for 20 years through a long-term corporate power purchase agreement.

Initially conceived by Axpo, the large-scale photovoltaic plant on the Muttsee dam has become the AlpinSolar collaborative project that brings together Denner, Axpo and IWB. The two energy companies Axpo and IWB will build the plant in partnership, Denner, the largest discount supermarket chain in Switzerland, will procure the energy produced by the Alpine photovoltaic plant for the next 20 years. The initiative is consistent with Denner's ambitious sustainability goals.

“This project confirms our commitment in wanting to achieve the objectives of environmental sustainability. The main one is to use energy exclusively from renewable sources, which is why we support innovative solutions that promote the responsible use of natural resources. Thanks to the Alpine photovoltaic system, we invest in our future and strengthen the importance of Switzerland as a production location”, explains Mario Irminger, CEO of Denner.

The 2.2 megawatt solar plant will be built at 2,500 meters above sea level on the Muttsee dam, part of the Limmern pumping plant, and will produce around 3.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Almost 5,000 solar modules will be installed on the dam, which is optimally oriented towards the south. Thanks to the Alpine location, the Muttsee plant will supply half of its production during the coldest part of the year - a time when solar energy is generally low in Switzerland. This is contrary to what happens with solar plants at lower altitudes which produce only about a quarter of their electricity production during this part of the year. The solar plant will be built in Muttsee and put into operation in the summer of 2021.

It is the first time in Switzerland that a large-scale photovoltaic system has been designed as part of a ppa, a long-term energy supply agreement. In Europe, PPPs are already on the agenda as more and more companies set themselves ambitious sustainability goals and aim to cover their energy needs with renewables. Axpo is one of the leading suppliers in the corporate ppa sector both in Europe and in the United States and already boasts more than fifteen years of experience in this sector.

AlpinSolar is exactly the kind of project that the energy transition requires. The photovoltaic plant on the Muttsee dam will be built in full respect of the environment and will provide a lot of renewable energy, especially in winter: what makes a project even more sustainable from an environmental point of view is that the plant will be built on a dam already existing.

“Unfortunately, the lack of a regulatory framework makes this kind of plants difficult to sustain from an economic point of view, as in this case. Nonetheless, we have chosen to carry out this flagship project with our exceptional partners to support a true mission statement and further push the Swiss energy transformation. We see this project as an important contribution to the discussion on the next legislative change”, underlines Christoph Brand , CEO of Axpo, the largest Swiss producer of renewable energy. With 5,000 employees, Axpo develops innovative energy solutions for its customers in 30 countries in Europe, North America and Asia.

IWB, the energy supplier of the canton of the city of Basel, has a 49% stake in the project. The company is constantly committed to an environmentally friendly energy supply. "This includes the expansion of solar electricity generation with targeted investments in Switzerland", confirms Claus Schmidt , CEO of IWB, company for energy, water, mobility and telecommunications: in its plants, IWB produces already today a quantity of renewable electricity greater than that required by its customers in Basel. Its subsidiary Planeco will be responsible for building the plant.

Denner is the leading discount supermarket chain in Switzerland with a presence as a local supplier in every rural and urban region of the country, wherever customers live and work. Denner offers a full range of products for daily needs in over 820 locations. In 2020, the discounter employed over 5,500 employees. To ensure this growth does not come at the expense of the environment, Denner has set ambitious goals in its sustainability strategy, investing in innovative projects to drive responsible action both internally and externally.

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EFA News - European Food Agency