Mont Soleil

This mountain rises to a heights of 1289m. A cable car or also a rather narrow road leads up from the small city of St. Imier. This area is part of the French speaking bernese Jura. The rolling soft hills and the large meadows are characteristic for the Jura.

On Mont Soleil (in French „Sun Mountain“) is a center for research on wind and solar power. In the center are many different kinds and types of sun panels that convert sun rays into energy. And there are at least a dozen wind mills that generate additional power.

The larger windmills are quite spectacular with a heights of 150m. The rotor measures 112m! It weighs 410 tons and produces 3’300kW. The noise production of the rotor is less prominent than expected. When the sun shines the movement of the rotor blades can be a little distracting because of the moving shadow on the ground.

About 80 million Swiss Francs were invested into this project. The production of energy from Mount Soleil covers about 80% of the need of the 17’000 inhabitants in the area including industry.

In Switzerland about 35% of the electric power is generated by atomic plants and almost 65% by water hydraulic plants. The mountains are an ideal set up for the later.

There are guided tours at the information center of Mount Soleil, explaining how energy is produced through wind and direct sun power.