Story 07.11.2017

Solar – Pilatus Becomes an Energy Producer

Pilatus not only produces aircraft, it also generates power. Our very first solar cell system was installed on top of the logistics centre at our headquarters in Stans in summer 2016. Solar panels are also being installed on the roof of our new hall 25. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd

One of the main focal points of the Pilatus Vision is active environmental protection based on eco-friendly decisions and sustainability in all that we do. This philosophy has long been an integral part of our production processes, and it is also seen in practice in our infrastructure – timber constructions, woodchip heating and the Minergie standard are just three of many areas in which our vision is reflected. Pilatus went one step further with the construction of the new logistics centre, which provided a first-time opportunity to play an active role in the production of electrical energy: a solar power plant was installed on the roof of this building in summer 2016.

Pioneering Role for the Logistics Building

The plant is not only a visible exterior sign of the state-of-the-art technology inside the building: it also produces part of the power required for operations in the logistics centre. The plant went into service in September 2016 and delivers power to the grid operated by “Elektrizitätswerke Nidwalden”. Rated at 89 kilowatts peak, this first Pilatus power plant generates a relatively modest power output. It produces about half of the electricity the staff canteen uses annually. Dominik Stöckli, who is responsible for the construction of the solar plant, is happy with the first few months of operation: “We even undercut the construction budget, and the plant has been entirely fault-free so far. We didn’t see any power output records during the winter months, but that is as expected. We are very happy nevertheless, because output exceeds the standard plant figures by around ten percent!”

Hall 25 – Two Football Fields

This encouraging experience with the first plant prompted the construction of another solar system on the newly built hall 25. Here, there is much more space available, and hence the installation will be substantially larger: offering an area the size of just under two football fields, this roof will allow the installation of up to 4,000 modules. The new plant is rated at 1,077 kilowatts peak – over ten times the output delivered by the plant on the logistics building! It will produce around 820,000 kilowatts of power per year, enough to cover the annual requirement of approximately 200 single-family homes – or three times the requirement of hall 9. The plant was connected to the grid in September and is the largest in canton Nidwalden by far, ranking amongst the top five in central Switzerland.