BKW, specialist in energy and infrastructure, Energie du Jura, the competence centre for energy in the Jura, and GEFCO, global player in industrial logistics, have inaugurated the largest solar canopy power plant in Courgenay, Switzerland. The plant production will cover half of the Canton of Jura objectives in terms of renewable energy by 2021.
A 43,000 square metres photovoltaic plant
The project originated in 2015 from GEFCO Switzerland ambition to modernise its 78,000 square metres vehicle fleet which comprises up to 3,000 import vehicles for the Swiss territory, Courgenay’s photovoltaic canopy plant is remarkable for its dimensions and capacity.
This plant is actually composed of 23,886 photovoltaic panels. The 43,000 square metres area is equivalent to four and a half soccer fields. The installed capacity of 6.7 MWp makes of Courgenay photovoltaic site the most powerful canopy plant in Switzerland, and able to produce annually 6.7 GWh of electricity, i.e. the annual consumption of 1,550 households.
Initiated in late 2015, the work focused on three distinct areas. The first installment (20% of the site) was completed on March 30, 2016 and produces up to 1.2 MWp of electricity. The other two areas, in service since August 2016, produce 3.2 MWp and 2.4 MWp respectively.
A major environmental project
A part of the energy produced will be used directly on site to charge electric cars imported by GEFCO. The surplus will be injected into the BKW network and provided to customers via the ‘Energy Green’ product developed by BKW.
The solar power plant production should be therefore certified to meet the growing needs in electricity from renewable sources. This achievement will cover nearly half of the Canton of Jura energy production objectives by 2021.
“We are pleased to see this project become a reality and to be able to participate in the achievement of the Canton of Jura objectives. This installation is particularly interesting since it enhances an industrial area which has been active for a long time. This is a good example for future projects,” said David Faehndrich, Director of Energie du Jura.
The produced electricity should allow savings of 2,400 tons of CO2 per year (based on the energy mix required by the European Union by 2020). The other environmental benefit that the installed canopy structure will enable, is collecting and recycling rainwater.
The design and construction of this plant represent an exemplary cooperation between BKW, Energie du Jura and GEFCO. Pursuing a dual objective of operational excellence and respect for the environment, GEFCO has approached in 2013 Energie du Jura, in charge of the energy strategy of the canton, actively engaged in increasing the share of renewable energy in local energy production, as required by the Swiss Confederation Energy Transition Plan for 2050.
For the technical management of the project, the two actors sought the expertise of BKW Group, a specialist in energy and infrastructure. “We are proud to be part of this unique project. This park reflects BKW expertise in photovoltaic fields as well as its own commitment and the commitment of its partners in the energy transition,” said Renato Sturani, Head of Renewables and Efficiency activities of BKW.
This cooperation resulted in a joint 12 million Swiss francs investment.
Sustainable development at the heart of the project
This plant will allow GEFCO Switzerland to reduce its environmental impact effectively. It is part of a Corporate Social Responsibility policy, which is also expressed through GEFCO Switzerland sites ISO 14001 certification, as well as through the installation of rainwater basins within the solar plant. “The Swiss subsidiary is proud of this achievement, in line with the Group’s environmental policy. I would like to thank BKW and EDJ for being with us on this project, very important for our customers and for us,” underlined Denis Igert, Director of GEFCO Switzerland.
“This project reflects GEFCO’s commitment in favor of the environment which is one of our priorities along with our customers’ satisfaction and operational excellence. Other facilities of our Group will follow this example,” commented Luc Nadal, CEO of the GEFCO Group.
Through this project, which is part of the 2050 Swiss Confederation energy strategy, GEFCO group, BKW and EDJ take part effectively in energy transition and sustainable development.