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City of Zurich can increase solar power by a factor of 7 by 2030

How much solar power can be produced on the roofs of the city of Zurich? Meteotest's experts have investigated this question.

Together with NET Nowak Energie & Technologie AG, Meteotest has evaluated the photovoltaic potential of the city of Zurich. The study has just been published by the city of Zurich. The calculations are based on the Swiss solar cadastre sonnendach.ch, which Meteotest helped to develop in a joint project on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, swisstopo and MeteoSwiss and which continues to be updated on an ongoing basis.

Sonnendach Zurich Bild1

The roofscape of the city of Zurich from sonnendach.ch.


In the urban context, there are numerous factors that reduce the theoretically available solar potential. If the roof areas are large enough and can be operated economically, they are in great competition with other uses, windows, areas for terraces or even green roofs. Urban heat analyses by Meteotest, however, show how important such greening of cities is. A large number of flat roofs, especially older ones, simply do not allow for PV systems due to inadequate building statics. And the protection of historical monuments can also be in competition with an expansion because, for example, the corresponding requirements make the systems very expensive.

Sonnendach Zurich Bild2 Vergleich

Competition for available space is large.

Competition for space in the urban context is fierce. Nevertheless, the study shows that photovoltaics still have a large and realistic expansion potential in urban areas.

Jan Remund, Head of Energy & Climate, Meteotest AG

Taking all criteria into account, the analysis yields a total photovoltaic production potential of 487 GWh per year. This production potential corresponds to around 16% of the current electricity consumption of the city of Zurich (around 3'000 GWh per year). Two differently ambitious development scenarios result, in addition to the current solar electricity production of 35 GWh per year, in a production potential of 82 GWh (factor 3) and 207 GWh (factor 7) per year in 2030.

The analysis was based on conservative assumptions. In less densely populated municipalities, PV can also generate significantly higher shares of electricity consumption.

Photovoltaic potential analysis also for your city

The methodology developed for the city of Zurich can be excellently adapted to the local conditions of other cities. We would be happy to contribute to the development and fulfilment of climate targets in your city as well.

    Simon Albrecht

    Your contact

    Simon Albrecht-Widler

    Head of Geoinformatics
    Meteotest / geo7

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    Jan Remund

    Your contact

    Jan Remund

    Head of Energy & Climate

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