Pöyry making it possible to ski with solar power
Problem: Ski resorts’ business is directly connected to seasonal tourist flows, which in turn are prey to weather conditions. In the context of a limited tourist season and the economic restrictions it brings, the opportunity to invest in turning resorts sustainable may not, at first hand, seem that appealing to resort owners.
Solution: The solar-powered ski lift not only produces the energy required for the lift’s operation but also excess energy that can be sold to the consumer. The solar ski lift generates income to the resort and therefore is a step towards making resorts environmentally sustainable and economically viable.
Pöyry contributed to constructing the first solar ski lift in the world in Tenna, Switzerland. The project was initiated by the Skilift Tenna Association, and the Tenna solar ski lift was inaugurated in December 2011. Pöyry’s contribution in the project included structural analysis, reinforcement plans and all excavation works.
The 450 m long ski lift is supported by five towers and the so-called solar wings were installed on a length of 330 m. The solar wings are not only moveable but also smart as they can be adjusted according to solar radiation. As a result, system produces 20–25% more energy compared to conventional solar systems.
The solar ski lift produces the energy required to operate the ski lift, and the remaining energy can be fed into the grid. The system is therefore not only sustainable but eventually turns an actual profit.
“The solar ski lift is an excellent example for sustainable development. The solar installation on the lift produces energy 12 months a year. The lift operates not only renewable energy, but about 2/3 of the energy can be sold! The plant will quickly pay itself off and the client will benefit from the additional income,” Pöyry Switzerland’s Project Manager Elmar Wenk says.
Economic, environmental and social aspects are always high on Pöyry’s agenda when searching for the best technical solutions and in this project Pöyry optimized the size of the foundations to reach cost-efficiency, emphasized soil conservation during site supervision and cooperated closely with local people, particularly with farmers and land owners.
“From the outset with a first-class proposal, followed by excellent coordination of all involved parties, on time delivery and within budget, Pöyry convinced us during the whole project. The team solved unexpected problems during construction phase with prudence and also pushed through our requirements towards third party companies,” Edi Schaufelberger, President of Tenna ski lift association, enthuses.
“Looking back, I can say that choosing Pöyry for the challenging engineering works was like winning the lottery jackpot!” Schaufelberger adds.