News and Stories

Solar power for Vals – a joint effort

The photovoltaic facility on the roof of Valser Mineralquellen supplies solar energy for about 36 households. This was made possible by teamwork in Vals. The following video tells the story of how it all came about...

Vals offers an idyllic, picture-postcard view: an Alpine village surrounded by thriving forests, green meadows, happy cows, crystal-clear waterfalls and the lovely mountains of Graubünden. The village’s approximately 1,000 residents take good care of their home, and they are rightly proud of it, with its treasures such as Vals quartzite and Vals mineral water, which comes from sources above Vals.

Even with all their love of tradition, the people of Vals embrace progress. They offer an object lesson in how to preserve a village’s image while still keeping in step with the times. Back in 2012, they received the European Village Renewal Award for these efforts. This award is given out for sustainable development of rural communities.

Using solar energy, protecting the local image

The people of Vals live in harmony with nature, which is why the idea of harnessing the sun for energy came up quite some time ago. But installing solar panels on the traditional stone and wood homes would have permanently changed the traditional, protected village image with its typical stone roofs. Tradition stood in the way of innovation.

There’s a solution to every problem. A building that is perfect for solar panels was found in the adjacent industrial zone: the Valser Mineralquellen bottling plant. The mineral water company was thrilled about the idea. After all, protecting the environment is a major priority for them, too. And so the plant’s flat roof was provided free of charge for the project, and the company also contributed financially to the initiative.

Several years later, the joint effort had come to fruition. A solar array on the roof of Valser Mineralquellen now produces energy for about 36 households in Vals.

The solar panels are operated by Valser Solargenossenschaft, a collective comprising the municipality of Vals, Valser Mineralquellen GmbH and various private individuals and businesses from the village. Thanks to the teamwork among all concerned, it is now possible to use renewable energies without any sacrifices in terms of the village’s image.

Facts on solar energy in Vals

  • Power generated: approx. 180,000 kWh per year
  • Area of the solar array: 924 m²
  • Commissioned on 1 July 2016, expanded 1 October 2017
  • Number of solar panels: 567 panels, Sunmodul plus