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portrait Rolf Ris
St. Imier, Switzerland
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Copyright © 2005 Rolf Ris, All Rights Reserved
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The discovery trail from Mont Soleil to Mont Crosin, or vice versa, leads you through fantastic Jurassic landscapes. Magnificent views alternate with interesting sites relevant to energy production.

On Mont Soleil is Switzerland's largest solar power station. On Mont Crosin, on the other hand, wind is used to produce energy. The power station's propeller supplies current to 600 households. The path is well maintained even in winter and is frequently parallel to the cross-country skiing trails.

The Mont-Soleil photovoltaic power station, was built in 1991 on this location, because it has an exceptional 1,700 hours of sunshine annually. The station's primary function is research and development, although it could theoretically provide up to 200 homes with electricity. But the energy produced in Mont-Soleil is not sold to individuals or companies, because it is seven times more expensive to produce than hydraulic or nuclear electricity. So instead, it is simply injected at a loss into the national grid.

The wind power station

The first turbine on the trail was built by the Juvent company in 1996 and has already produced 4 million Kilowatts/h. Together with the five other turbines that have been installed since, the site produces 35 per cent of Switzerland's renewable energy, while Mont-Soleil's solar station accounts for five per cent.

The wind turbines themselves weigh 60 tonnes and are 67 metres high. The rotating blades are 22 metres long, and need to perform more than 28 rotations per minute to turn wind into electricity.

Location Map Geographic Coordinates:
Latitude: 47° 09' 51" N
Longitude: 6° 59' 32" E
Elevation: 1291 m
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September 21, 2005 - 17:36 MEZ

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