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What can I choose in the calculator?

The calculator lets you choose the Photovoltaic generation capacity (GW) in Switzerland in the selected year (2035 or 2050).




  • Impact
  • Global market
  • Definition
  • Constraints
  • Assumptions
  • Value range

IMPACT – What are the impacts of Photovoltaic energy?

In Switzerland, increasing the share of Photovoltaic energy in the total electricity generation mix will have the following impacts:

Energy system

image Increase the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix.

image At very high shares, the seasonal supply-demand gap (excess generation in summer and generation shortage in winter) can become problematic.

image Increase pressure on the grid by increasing non-dispatchable electricity generation.

image No effect on final energy consumption.

image Can increase energy independence and energy security.

Environment & Climate

image Reduces global CO2 emissions.

image Likely to increase deposited waste and environmental impacts related to mining and end of life treatment of PV panels.

image Can increase pressure on land availability, unless limited to roof-top and other unused areas.

Society & Economy

image Direct impacts on the cost of the energy transition are limited as PV technology is becoming cheaper. However, indirect costs of integrating PV at high shares are not well understood and may increase the cost of the energy transition.

image May increase the acceptance of the energy transition through increased awareness of electricity consumers who become from time to time also electricity producers.

image May improve balance of payments by substituting imported energy by domestic electricity.

image Self-consumption of produced PV electricity can increase electricity levies for all other electricity consumers (fewer kWhs to spread the cost).

GLOBAL MARKET – What is the global market for Photovoltaic energy?

In 2012 the global installed capacity of photovoltaics was estimated to be more than 134 GW.[5] The newly installed capacity was estimated at 38 GW in that year, with leading markets being China (11.3 GW), Japan (6.9 GW) and the USA (4.75 GW). Annual installations in Europe have been decreasing over recent years (2011: 22 GW, 2012: 17 GW, 2013: 10.3 GW). The IEA estimated that 0.3% of the electricity generated globally in 2011 came from PV. In IEA’s New Policy Scenario, this share increases to 4.3% by 2035.[6]


DEFINITION - What is Photovoltaic energy?

Photovoltaic energy refers to the direct conversion of solar radiation into direct current power. PV panels are made up of cells which contain a material (often silicon-based) which releases electrons in response to light.

PV panels can be used singly, or in arrays providing a power ofup to several MW. The majority of PV arrays today are grid connected and thus require a DC-AC converter.

The nominal capacity (kW) of a PV system is a calculated value based on defined standard benchmark conditions. Depending on the location, one kW of installed PV may typically generate between 800 and 2,500 kWh in one year.

CONSTRAINTS - What are the key barriers facing Photovoltaic energy deployment?

• Generation of PV electricity does not follow the fluctuations in time of the demand in most world regions (day-night, winter-summer) so large scale deployment of PV needs to be combined with measures such as storage that can balance supply and demand.

• While PV module costs and prices have fallen significantly in recent years, installed system cost (incl. mounting, electric installations, current inverter and project development) still poses a barrier to deployment.

• Permitting of PV plants and grid connection is a key barrier to PV deployment in some countries.

• Availability of roof area suitable for PV can become a limiting factor in achieving high PV shares. Systems installed on ‘green’ fields may cause public resistance.

• It can be challenging to sell PV electricity with sufficient margin in a merit- order based market. Incentives may therefore persist even at very low levelized cost of PV electricity.

ASSUMPTIONS – What are the assumptions considered in the calculator?

Next tables contain the assumptions that have been introduced in the Photovoltaic energy model of the calculator.

Capacity factor
2011 2035 2050
0.113 0.113 0.113
Monthly distribution*
0.040 0.064 0.090 0.111 0.117 0.114 0.123 0.117 0.093 0.066 0.038 0.027

*Based on the actual PV electricity production for the “Mittenland” [1].

Efficiency [%]
2011 2035 2050
16 25
2011 2035 2050
CO2-eq. emissions [kgCO2-eq./kWhe] 0.0625 0.0334 0.0179
Deposited waste [UBP/kWhe] 7.87 4.20 2.25
2011 2035 2050
Specific investment [CHF/kWe] 3'750 2'214 1'824


MIN Value: 0 GW

MAX Value:

2035 25GW The potential for 2035-2050 is estimated to be 25 TWh (More information), produced by 25 GW (Capacity factor = 0.113). The required surface for the panels represents 40% of the actual appropiate roofs and façades surface for PV panels installation in Switzerland.


[1] Roger Nordmann (2012), L’évolution des besoins de stockage au fur et à mesure de la sortie du nucléaire, dans l’hypothèse où l’on remplace 70 % du nucléaire par du photovoltaïque.

[2] IEA(2010), Technology roadmap, Solar photovoltaic energy.

[3] Swissolar (2012), Comment produire 20% d’électricité solaire en 2025.

[4] VSE (2012), Electricité photovoltaïque et solaire thermique.

[5] PVPS Report: Snapshot of Global PV 1992-2013

[6] International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2013

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photovoltaic_more.txt · Last modified: 2019/10/22 09:17 (external edit)