June 25, 2024

Canton of Neuchâtel: More than 33,300 innovative solar roof tiles are paving the way to energy independence

Three major renovation projects of protected buildings are reaching their final stages in Neuchâtel. These buildings will be equipped with 33,300 innovative solar tiles, the result of a fruitful collaboration between CSEM, the technology innovation center, and Freesuns. This milestone signifies substantial progress for the City and Canton of Neuchâtel in the race to the 2050 Swiss energy transition.

The Collège des Parcs in Neuchâtel, slated for completion in 2025, now features a dynamic solar-tiled roof, a collaborative innovation by Freesuns and CSEM.
©Freesuns - The Collège des Parcs in Neuchâtel, slated for completion in 2025, now features a dynamic solar-tiled roof, a collaborative innovation by Freesuns and CSEM.



Three heritage buildings in Neuchâtel will soon be outfitted with 33,300 solar tiles, thanks to a partnership between Freesunsand CSEM, marking a significant stride toward the 2050 energy transition. 


The Collège des Parcs will enjoy self-sustained energy production of nearly 150,000 kilowatt-hours(kWh) per year, meeting its annual energy needs. Two iconic Hauterivestone buildings on Rue A.-L. Breguet are also being fitted with new solar tiles, including a grey variant.


Freesuns and CSEM are now pushing the envelope in developing and marketing even more efficient generations of solar tiles, bolstered by a recent fundraising of one million Swiss francs secured by Freesuns.

A transition respectful of Neuchâtel's architectural heritage  

Three major renovation projects for protected buildings are entering their final phase in the Canton of Neuchâtel. These establishments encompass the Collège des Parcs, owned by the City of Neuchâtel, in addition to the Beaux-Arts school building and the Rue A. - L. Breguet university building, both of which are assets of the canton. At the Collège des Parcs, architectural challenges were met by installing several thousand Freesuns solar tiles, which conform to the irregular curves of the historic roof without causing damage. This solution should enable the college to generate an annual production of nearly 150,000 kWh, equivalent to the consumption of about 50 Swiss house holds (i). The cantonal buildings Breguet and Beaux-Arts will benefit from an installed capacity of 130 kilowatt-peak (kWp) and 95 kWp respectively. These renovations are expected to be completed between September and November 2024, marking a new chapter in Neuchâtel's energy transition. 

Matthieu Despeisse, Group Leader Solar Modules at CSEM, states: «These projects demonstrate that through innovation, we can blend tiles, photovoltaics, energy transition, and the preservation of architectural heritage.»

Solar roofs to reduce building’s energy impact

Switzerland has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, with crucial interim milestones such as reducing CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to 1990 level. According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), buildings account for over 40% of energy consumption and one-third of CO2 emissions. Therefore, energy-efficient renovations of public buildings, like those undertaken in Neuchâtel, play a key role in this national strategy.  

Deborah Learoyd, General Manager from Freesuns, adds: «We hope that these pioneering renovation projects will serve as an inspiring model for other cantons and municipalities. This perfectly illustrates the balance between balance between respecting heritage and sustainable development, made possible by our tiles.»

CSEM’s and Freesuns’ collaboration continues

With their aesthetic appeal and robust technology, Freesuns’ solar roof tiles have become a benchmark for architectural integration and renewable energy production in Switzerland. New modules of solar tiles have been designed and developed in partnership with CSEM that are now even more efficient, and these tiles will start to hit the market by the end of 2024. These advancements were made possible thanks to a successful fundraising effort by Freesuns, which raised 1 million Swiss francs, and additional backing from the Technology Fund, allowing the company to boost its production and advance its technology.  

The projects led by CSEM and Freesuns open up promising economic prospects for the energy enhancement of heritage buildings in the municipalities and cantons of Switzerland. Together, they highlight the importance of technological innovation in overcoming technical and economic challenges. 


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