dhp technology

Harvesting solar energy from industrial spaces

Photovoltaics is a key pillar of a sustainable energy supply. To be able to produce renewable power over large outdoor industrial spaces, dhp technology AG has launched a folding solar roof.

Solar panels are generally installed on rooftops. But photovoltaic systems can also be installed on industrial and commercial sites that are already being used for other purposes – and produce solar power on a much larger scale. With the added advantage that, while sunlight is being converted into renewable energy, the existing infrastructure can be used as normal.

dhp technology AG, founded in 2015, has developed a solar roof that can be erected over wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) clarifiers. Its panels are supported on cables, which means the roof can be retracted in bad weather to protect it. The idea was first put into practice at the Chur WWTP – and has since found many other customers. Across Switzerland, more than a dozen systems are now in operation, with a total output of around five megawatts. That is roughly equivalent to the output of 1,000 typical roof systems on family homes.

One of these solar roofs was erected at 1500 metres, over the Davos WWTP. It is the first installation of this type in the Alpine region, and it has demonstrated that dhp technology’s folding system, sold under the brand name HORIZON, works reliably even in extreme weather conditions. The first folding roof over a car park was installed at the valley station of the Kronberg cable car, in Appenzell Innerrhoden, and similar projects are now being planned for motorway service stations and company logistics areas. The idea is to produce electric power for electromobility where it is most needed.

dhp technology financed its development work with seed funding, venture capital from private investors and debt capital from banks. The latter put their trust in the young company from Graubünden because it was able to demonstrate its first plant very early on. An EU grant of 2.5 million euros was also a great help. The company and its 30+ employees have already successfully spread their wings beyond the borders of their Swiss home market to Germany. And, with one folding roof installed there and a number of others planned, dhp technology will use it as a starting point to expand further into the European market.