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Sitemark & Energie Netzwerk join forces to scan the largest alpine solar plant in Switzerland

By November 16, 2022No Comments

A while ago, Robert Kröni & Oliver Montalvo from Energie Netzwerk performed a thermal scan of an exceptional solar plant – the Muttsee Dam in Switzerland – and requested Sitemark to process the acquired data. Intrigued by the panels’ location and almost vertical orientation, we accepted the challenge.

Robert & Olivier on the Dam

About Muttsee

Muttsee is a reservoir in the Canton of Glarus, Switzerland, with a surface area of 42 ha. It was built in 2016 and is a critical element of the Limmern pumped storage plant.

In 2020 Axpo received permission to build a 2.2 MW solar farm that will supply 3.3 GWh per year – half of it in winter. 

Axpo installed almost 5,000 photovoltaic panels on the containment wall of the artificial basin, which is 2,500 meters above sea level. It produces about 50% more power than a similar facility in the Swiss midlands as it benefits from reflections off the snow and its location above the fog.

Muttsee Damm
Muttsee Damm

Challenges

The unique location of this solar plant has a set of challenges when it comes to constructing & maintaining the solar farm; material can only be transported by helicopter, and accessing the dam takes approximately 2,5 hours on foot or through the caverns.

Another challenge is the weather as it’s difficult to predict due to very local conditions, and even the weather service often fails to predict the weather correctly. But to perform a thermal scan the weather needs to be optimal and the irradiance needs to be high enough.
You must also consider that as the air is much thinner, batteries are depleted faster, reducing the effective flight time.

Caverns of the Muttsee Damm

 Also, from an analyzing point of view, there were a few requirements to consider:

  • Mandatory availability of a panel layout (dxf or pdf string map).
  • Individual photos covering the vertical plane of modules of the dam.
  • Sufficient horizontal movement photo overlap.

But having taken all the requirements into account, Robert & Oliver were able to acquire the necessary photos & upload this to the Sitemark Fuse Platform where Sitemark’s technology could do its magic.

"It was thrilling to be part of such a unique project and to think out of the box, both on the acquisition and data analytics side, but the result is worth it."

Sophie SandorCertified Thermographer