PV system in disused satellite dish

»Europe’s first solar power system in a satellite dish« has been installed by Switzerland’s CKW AG – a subsidiary of energy group Axpo – in a redundant receiver unit at the Leuk Teleport & Data Centre (Leuk TDC) in the Swiss canton of Valais. Combined with other PV systems and »additional hydroelectric power,« it is expected to help power the TDC’s data center with 99 percent renewable energy in the future.
In the »forward-looking innovation project,« however, the antenna’s complex tracking mechanism, which continues to be kept in operation, moves only 116 kilowatts of photovoltaic power – a ratio that tends to be unfavorable. In addition, the specific yield of the system, measured against the effort involved, is low: according to CKW, the significantly larger solar power system on the data center building in Leuk, with 550 kilowatts, delivers a good 1,000 kilowatt hours per kilowatt (kWh/kW) of installed power, while only 950 kWh/kW are expected for the solar generator in the antenna dish. This is quite plausible despite the dual-axis tracking, because the shape of the dish is optimal for receiving radio signals, but not for a high yield from the solar modules.
The two project partners are nevertheless enthusiastic about their concept and want to use more antennas for PV. The building permit for a second dish has already been obtained, and construction is scheduled to begin next spring.

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