A forward-looking project

Photovoltaics at the 3S cableway stations

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On the south and west walls of the valley station, a total of 485 modules in an aluminium post-and-beam construction have been fitted to the timber frame of the building shell, covering a surface area of 877m2. The system at the new 3S cableway’s valley station has 135.8 kWp and will generate 157,000 kWh of energy a year, equivalent to the power used by about 35 households. The photovoltaics system will save 23.4 tonnes of CO2 a year.

The PV modules had to be carefully selected to account for the alpine weather conditions at almost 3,000 metres above sea level, which also required the installation of a number of steel supports to combat the high winds. The energy-generating modules are slightly thicker than the conventional types in order to withstand the effects of the weather, such as ice formation and hail.
 

The thrid photovoltaics system in the ski resort

Since April 2000, the façade of the Matterhorn glacier paradise restaurant, which was built and financed by BKW AG, has comprised 108 solar modules with a power rating of 23,650 Wp, generating 35,000 kWh a year. Additionally, the high-yield photovoltaic system fitted to the south façade earned Zermatt Bergbahnen AG the Swiss and European Solar Prizes in 2010. Zermatt Bergbahnen AG has been operating another photovoltaics system at the MEX station on Trockener Steg since 2010. Here, 99 solar panels yield 21,780 Wp of power and generate 20,000 kWh annually.

The façade of the 3S cableway valley station is thus the third photovoltaics system in the ski resort. Another system will be installed at the 3S mountain station, which is currently under construction.

the valley station for the new 3S cableway is perfectly suited to a photovoltaics system. [...] Both the location and the available surfaces are ideal for the installation of a solar power system.
Stefan Aufdenblatten CEO of Elektrizitätswerk Zermatt AG (EWZ)

natural lighting

Interspersed between the modules are 57 glass windows which serve for natural lighting of the building interior. These have been positioned in such a way that they allow light to fall not only in the boarding area, but also in areas vital for inspection and maintenance of the cableway. The result is a station flooded with sunlight and minimal need for artificial light sources.

Facts about solar energy at the valley station of the 3S cableway 

Average annual energy production 157'200 kWh
Total surface area of photovoltaic modules 877 m2
Numbe of photovoltaic moduls 485