Romande Energie SA – one of the major power distributors in Switzerland – and EPFL have always held a close relationship over the last decades, whether it was for scientific, academic or operational collaborations. But their partnership took on a new dimension in the beginning of 2009 with the decision of constructing a photovoltaic plant of 2 megawatts – the biggest known in Switzerland – on the EPFL campus.
Built in three stages between 2010 and 2014, inaugurated the 19th of May 2015, the solar park is the property of Romande Energie. The latter finances the entire construction, operates the power plant, and finances research and demonstration projects at EPFL in the field of solar energy. This project enabled to implement the first photovoltaic installation based on dye-sensitized solar cells, also called Grätzel cells, on the west façade of the EPFL Congress Center. The EPFL in turn offers its roofs and infrastructure, and buys one third of the electricity produced.