Swiss Federal Office of Energy awards the Swiss energy prize Watt d’Or 2023
Bern, 12.01.2023 - This evening, 12 January 2023, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy awards Switzerland’s prestigious energy prize, the Watt d'Or, for the sixteenth time. The winners of gold for 2023 are: Azienda Elettrica di Massagno AEM along with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) and the companies Hive Power SA and Optimatik AG (Energy Technologies category), the Limmattaler Regiowerk Limeco in Dietikon (also Energy Technologies category), 3S Swiss Solar Solutions AG in Gwatt near Thun (Renewable Energies category), EVTEC AG along with sun2wheel AG based in Kriens-Obernau (Energy Efficient Mobility category), the Architecture and Building Systems Chair at ETH Zurich along with Zurich Soft Robotics GmbH / Solskin (Buildings and Spatial Development category), and the two Bernese non-governmental organizations Solafrica and Root & Branch (Special Jury award). The Watt d’Or trophy – a snow globe – will be presented to the winners this evening by the distinguished jury headed by National Councilor Susanne Vincenz-Stauffacher at the Kongresszentrum Kursaal in Bern. Hundreds of representatives of Switzerland’s energy scene, including politicians, business people and researchers, will be present.
Innovative Swiss companies and universities are successfully and boldly living the energy future now and putting technology into use. To honour these efforts the Swiss Federal Office of Energy has created the Watt d'Or as the hallmark for excellence in the energy field. The Watt d'Or was first awarded in 2007 with the intention of publicising extraordinary products or services in the energy sector. Motivation was thus to be provided for the economy, politics and the public at large to discover for themselves the advantages of innovative energy technologies.
The Watt d'Or is not endowed with any prize money so no funds are awarded. 39 applications for the Watt d'Or 2023 were submitted by mid-July 2022 and evaluated by a team of experts. 17 applications reached the final round of judging. From these the jury led by chairwoman Susanne Vincenz-Stauffacher has selected the winning project in each of the four Watt d'Or categories. This year, there are two winners in the Energy Technologies Category, and a Special Jury award.
Winners of the Watt d'Or 2023
Energy Technologies category
A sunny and smart community: In summer 2022, a pioneering three-year pilot project concluded in Lugaggia, a small village near Lugano. It successfully demonstrated that an intelligently networked and controlled combination of electricity consumers and solar power producers can significantly increase self-sufficiency. Behind this sunny alliance of the Lugaggia Innovation Community are the regional distribution system operator Azienda Elettrica di Massagno (AEM), the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), the companies Hive Power and Optimatik, and Landis & Gyr. They succeeded in connecting Lugaggia's pre-school, 18 residential buildings, 10 heat pumps, 6 electric boilers, a 60kWh community battery and six photovoltaic systems with a total output of around 70kW in such a way that 94 per cent of the solar electricity not used directly could be shared and consumed within the community.
Powergas from Limmattal: Everyone is talking about power-to-gas. The Limmattaler Regiowerk Limeco in Dietikon doesn't just talk about it, though. It produces it. Together with eight Swiss energy suppliers and the municipal utility alliance Swisspower, it has realised the first industrial power-to-gas plant. The plant has an electrolysis capacity of 2.5 megawatts and can produce 450 cubic metres of hydrogen per hour. This results in up to 18,000 megawatt hours of synthetic renewable gas per year, which is fed into the local gas grid. The pioneering plant is intended to contribute to the professional development and cost optimisation of power-to-gas technology in the Swiss energy system.
Renewable Energies category
Swiss solar aesthetics for the future: The younger generation will hardly be aware of the fact that Switzerland was once the leading nation in solar power in Europe. One of the pioneers from the height of the Swiss solar revolution is 3S Swiss Solar Solutions AG in Gwatt near Thun. For more than 20 years, it has been manufacturing MegaSlate, aesthetic solar modules that it developed specifically for building-integrated photovoltaics. It has also been through many ups and downs during this time. Today, however, production is back in full swing, due in part to the new state-of-the-art production line that went into operation in August 2021. This is supporting 3S in successfully meeting the sharp rise in demand for high quality, aesthetic photovoltaic systems.
Energy-efficient Mobility category
The future of electromobility - Made in Switzerland: Electric vehicles have become an integral part of our everyday lives. So too have charging stations, which are becoming available at more and more car parks. The company EVTEC AG has been successfully involved in this business for the past 12 years. It develops and produces charging technologies for all requirements at its site in Kriens-Obernau. Its latest innovation is its 20kW bidirectional charging station "sospeso&charge due". Not only can it charge two vehicles simultaneously, it can also feed electricity from a vehicle's batteries into a building to reduce consumption peaks (Vehicle to Home) or into the local power grid to compensate for energy fluctuations (Vehicle to Grid). Together with the intelligent charging system from sun2wheel, a young software start-up also based in Kriens-Obernau, a complete Swiss Made solution is now available for households and businesses. sun2wheel's system optimises charging while improving the security of supply.
Buildings and Spatial Development category
Solskin gets solar façades moving: Since the beginning of 2022, the façade of Empa's NEST innovation building in Dübendorf has been adorned with a mosaic-like structure that at first glance looks like architectural art. It is the 'adaptive solar façade', developed by Professor Arno Schlüter, Head of the Architecture and Building Systems Chair at ETH Zurich. It consists of movable, lightweight solar modules mounted on a lightweight substructure that can be affixed to the façade. Thanks to intelligent control, these modules automatically follow the path of the sun throughout the day to optimise electricity generation. On warm days, they provide cooling shade inside the building, but can also be tilted manually or automatically so that the heat and rays of the sun enter the room. The spin-off Zurich Soft Robotics GmbH is now working on bringing this amazing innovation to market under the name of Solskin.
Special Jury award
Sunny career prospects with REFUGEES GO SOLAR+: The Swiss solar industry is booming in Switzerland and is desperately looking for skilled workers. There are many refugees here who would like to work but are not allowed to because they lack a vocational qualification that is recognised in Switzerland. The REFUGEES GO SOLAR+ programme builds a bridge between these two worlds. It was initiated by the non-governmental Bernese organisations Solafrica and Root & Branch and is supported by the trade association Swissolar, SwissEnergy, and the State Secretariat for Migration, among others. The programme is going strong - in the last three years, it has already been established in 10 cantons in German- and French-speaking Switzerland. As with a vocational apprenticeship, this industry qualification can be obtained in stages on the job at around 50 partner companies from the solar industry. The aim is to train participating refugees to the extent that they can successfully enter the primary labour market.
Portraits of the winning projects
Further information about the winning projects can be found in the portraits attached.
Photos and videos
Photos of the 2023 award presentation ceremony will be freely available on 12 January 2023 at about 6:30 p.m. on Flickr (source indicated ©BFE2023). Videos of the award presentation ceremony will be freely available on 13 January 2023 from about 3 p.m. on YouTube.
Live-Stream on 12 January 2023 starting at 16:20 p.m.: www.wattdor.ch
Address for enquiries
Marianne Zünd, Head of Media and Political Affairs SFOE
Tel. 058 462 56 75 / 079 763 86 11, firstname.lastname@example.org
Swiss Federal Office of Energy