What is the net PV energy production in Switzerland and how can we maximize it?

P. Martinez-Alcaraz, G. Serra-Coch, C. Alonso-Montolio, H. Coch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Maximizing solar energy production in Switzerland is key to meet energy transition goals. Understanding in detail the current situation, and the potential for expansion is important to develop effective strategies. With this study, we want to contribute to federal and academic efforts to measure solar energy by estimating the net energy produced by photovoltaic (PV) installations when considering their embodied energy. We calculated the values of all energy produced by PV installations across Switzerland from 1991-2021 and subtracted the embodied energy used to manufacture the PV panels and their mounting system. We considered four different types: freestanding, attached-complex, attached-simple and integrated, with progressively decreasing values of embodied energy for the supporting structure. The results show that in 2022, 50% of PV installations were producing net energy, which accounts for an accumulated historical value of 1.000 GWh, implying that 6% of the historical PV generation is net energy. If mounting systems were minimized, the accumulated net energy would reach 23%, showing the importance of integrating PV panels in building elements. These findings suggest that policies to support the diffusion of photovoltaic panels should also ensure long term use of existing installations and consider the mounting systems’ embodied energy for new ones.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameJournal of Physics: Conference Series
ISSN (Print)1742-6588


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