Elektrizitätswerk Jona-Rapperswil AG (EWJR), a leading Swiss energy supplier, completed the installation of 2,000 solar panels weighing over 50 tons on the roof of Sukano AG. The new photovoltaic system is one of the largest systems completed in EWJR's company history. The peak output of the entire system is 748 kilowatt, which corresponds to an annual yield of around 725 megawatts. This could supply electricity to 160 single-family homes.
EWJR was able to meet Sukano’s target inauguration date despite module and inverter supply chain challenges and nearly a foot of snow on the roof of the facility at the start of installation. Thanks to good cooperation with long-standing suppliers, the project was completed on time.
It took six months from the final order placement to the comissioning of the system. EWJR had seven employees on site at all times working with a regional roofing company to install the system and carrying out the rest of the work themselves, including the electrical installation.
The project also went smoothly from Sukano's point of view. "We knew from past experience to expect competency and technical excellence from EWJR," said Dieter Zemp, Head of Operations & Purchasing and Member of the Executive Board at Sukano. "Commissioning felt like 'plug and play' - plug in and go." The company uses the generated electricity primarily for its own consumption.
Sukano opted for a photovoltaic system to prepare for the future and drive the change to renewable energy forward. The company primarily uses the generated electricity for its own consumption. "Thanks to many sunny days during the summer months, we have generated between 4.5 and 4.9 megawatt hours per day since commissioning. Together with the purchase of hydro and solar power from third-party providers, we cover 95% of our power demand in Switzerland with renewable energy," explains Zemp. The switch from oil heating to a heat pump is another planned investment and milestone in Sukano's sustainability strategy.
Although a project of this size is unusual, the general demand for photovoltaic systems at EWJR is high. "The growing awareness of renewable energy, the continued attractiveness of one-off payments, and the current situation regarding security of supply are generating an enormous number of inquiries," says Michael Bätscher, Managing Director of EWJR.
EWJR is expanding its Smart Energy department to satisfy increasing demand from new customers seeking photovoltaic systems. Customers currently have to wait until the beginning of summer 2023 to install a photovoltaic system.
In general, EWJR is seeing a shift away from the installation of pure photovoltaic systems and a trend toward comprehensive "smart energy" products. As Schürch explains: "This means that solar electricity is used to power an e-charging station, a heat pump, a battery storage system or an emergency power solution - all digitally interconnected and controllable. This complexity will continue to increase in the future and is the primary focus of the Smart Energy division at EWJR."
About Elektrizitätswerk Jona-Rapperswil AG:
EWJR has been supplying the town of Rapperswil-Jona with electricity since 1902. With over 1,300 customers and the town of Rapperswil-Jona as its largest single customer, the company has a broad regional base and is politically independent. EWJR offers sustainable energy products and future-oriented services from a single source throughout German-speaking Switzerland. The company is responding to long-term developments such as the energy transition, decentralized electricity generation and digitization with innovative strength and modern technology.
Sukano is a global specialist in the development and production of additive and color masterbatches and compounds for polyesters, biopolymers, and specialty resins. The company is driven by expertise and devotes its technical knowledge to developing innovative products and highly specialized solutions that go into Packaging, Consumer Durables, Building and Construction, Healthcare and Textiles. Founded in 1988, the family-owned business has its headquarters in Schindellegi, Switzerland and additional manufacturing facilities strategically located in the USA and Malaysia.