Zermatt Switzerland - A Sustainable Outlook
The small town of Zermatt, Switzerland is known for it’s world famous ski resort, picturesque landscape and awe inspiring views of the Matterhorn mountain.
This formula has made it one of the most visited ski towns with almost two million visitors annually. Hosting this number of visitors can be a challenge for any small town, not to mention one that’s located in a remote region of the Swiss Alps. Every visitor who comes through needs heated accommodation, running water and of course some warm meals.
As water and energy needs increased Zermatt was left with a decision. Run ugly power lines through their picturesque landscape or move towards becoming a more self sufficient and sustainable town. They chose the latter.
For their water demands they have developed their own water treatment facilities efficiently treat all waste water.
When it comes to energy they are taking a multi faceted approach. They have been gradually moving towards hydro-electric, geo-thermal and solar energy to power their town, resort and hotels as they move away from old petroleum based techniques.
Most notably their mountain top restaurant recently won the Swiss and European solar prizes for photovoltaic system integrated into the building.
Zermatt is not the only ski town that has begun making the move towards sustainability. Other towns across the globe are seeing the potential in becoming self sufficient.
A challenge that many ski towns face when moving towards sustainable energy is that of snowfall. While geothermal and hydro-electric generation is not affected by snow, photovoltaic output can be considerably reduced by it.
Following a big snowfall the output of solar panels can be reduced up to 100% if covered in snow or ice.
In order to better meet the needs and demand for solar power generation in winter climates, Blizzard Solar has developed the Autonomous Winter Solar Panel (AWSP). The AWSP is an autonomous system that accurately detects and removes the presence of snow or ice. Current snow removal systems often require manual activation and rely on fully heating the panel consuming large amounts of energy. The AWSP is able to activate autonomously when needed and consumes a very little amount of energy ensuring maximum power output throughout the year.
Blizzard Solar is a technology development company and is currently looking to license or sell this technology to manufacturers within the solar or renewable industry.