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Football stadium receives solar prize

Switzerland's biggest solar installation is on the roof of the Stade de Suisse


Bern's new Stade de Suisse stadium has been awarded the European Solar Prize 2005 at a ceremony in the German capital, Berlin, on Wednesday.

The Stade de Suisse houses the biggest solar power installation ever incorporated into the roof of a football stadium.

The European Association for Renewable Energy, Eurosolar, awarded a number of prizes in different catagories.

The operators of the stadium in the Swiss capital, Bern, were commended for their use of renewable energy at the sports facility.

The Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany, was joint winner in the same category.

It is not the first award for the Stade de Suisse, which was inaugurated at the end of July and has already hosted international matches. In September, it won the Swiss solar prize.

Solar roof

The stadium, which took 20 months to build, houses the largest solar power installation in the country, according to operators BKW FMB Energy.

It cost SFr7 million ($5.86 million) to construct the solar roof, which is composed of 8,000 square metres of panels.

The roof is expected to produce a maximum of 700,000-kilowatt hours of energy a year - enough for 200 households. Annual power output could be boosted by almost 50 per cent by adding more panels.

The main customer for the solar power generated is the stadium itself. Other customers can also take advantage of what the operators say is the cheapest unsubsidised solar energy in Switzerland.

Since 1994 Eurosolar has been awarding the European Solar Prizes to municipalities, companies, individuals using renewable energies, and to organisations which have rendered outstanding service to the cause of renewable energy.

The winners are chosen from among the applicants for the respective national solar prizes.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The new solar facility on Bern's Wankdorf stadium is Switzerland's biggest.
It covers 8,000 square metres, and can produce enough energy to power 200 households.
The solar panels cost SFr7 million.

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In brief

Just 0.1% of all electricity produced in Switzerland is solar-generated.

Around 8,000 facilities like the one built at the Stade de Suisse would be needed to equal the output of one nuclear reactor.

To meet the country's entire electricity requirements, it would take 500 square kilometres of solar panels.

Solar electricity costs five times more than hydraulic or nuclear power.

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