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Switzerland's first 'solar highway' a step closer to reality

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A file image of a solar technician at work: Depositphotos
09:51 CEST+02:00
Swiss firm Servipier has passed an important milestone in its ambitious plans to cover Swiss freeways with solar panels.

The Zug-based company has now received the green light from the Swiss Federal Roads Office (Fedro) to run a pilot project on a stretch of the A9 freeway in the sun-drenched canton of Valais.

The plan would see at least 1.6 kilometres of the A9 freeway in the commune of Fully covered in solar panels, according to national broadcaster RTS.

A total of 37,000 solar panels would be installed on a metal structure above the freeway. They would produce 19 gigawatt hours a year, enough for the electricity consumption of 20,000 people.

The pilot project is set to cost 50 million Swiss francs ($51 million) with all of that money coming from the private sector. Construction could start as early as autumn 2019.

Servipier must now finalise the investment process and get building permission from cantonal authorities in Valais for the project to go ahead.

The company has big ambitions for the idea of covered solar freeways, which it says will help Switzerland make a complete break from nuclear energy. It believes the technology could be applied to 750 kilometres of Swiss roads and is also looking to expand globally.

Fedro noted the project was in line with the country's energy strategy 2050. The agency also said driver safety would be ensured.

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