Installation of hybrid solar panels on a mountain refuge in France (FR)
The Arpont mountain refuge is located in the Vanoise National Par, which was the first national park created in France in 1963 to avoid the disappearance of the ibex. Located in the department of Savoie (Rhône- Alpes), the park covers the Vanoise mountain range between the valleys of Isère, Tarentaise, Arc and Maurienne and is on the French-Italian border.
The Vanoise National Park cares deeply about nature protection and awareness and also organizes activities to promote local sustainable development. The rehabilitation and expansion of the Arpont refuge, entrusted by the National Park to GTM Construction (a subsidiary of Vinci), is part of this process.
When we say off-grid, we mean it: transport by helicopter !
The equipment for the DualSun installation had to be transported to the Arpont refuge by helicopter, as there are no paved roads leading to this charming building. The DualSun installation, which was more complex than normal due to its location and the fact that the panels were installed vertically, was carried out by DomancyElec, a renewable energy company specialized in remote/difficult installations.
Why were the DualSun panels chosen instead of regular PV and Thermal ones? According to the installer Paul Cathand, it is because of technical and esthetic reasons. Indeed, he liked the fact that DualSun panels were innovative, allowed to save space and because they are building-integrated!
The DualSun panels are oriented from East to West (-45 ° to 45 °) in order to adapt to the needs of the refuge. This orientation is not necessarily optimal for a standard building. However, in the case of the refuge it is ideal because its strongest needs, hot water and electricity, are in the early mornings (when the clients get ready to start hiking) and at the end of the afternoon.
Installing the panels vertically
The DualSun panels have been installed on the façade of the building, not only for esthetic reasons but to prevent snow from building on them in the winter. As we have explained it in our article about the inclination of the panels, although production is not maximized with this angle, it is sufficient for the needs of the refuge.
The renovation of the Arpont refuge represents the management’s desire combine the respect of nature with modern architecture. The decision to install DualSun panels fits perfectly with both requirements: instead of having a multitude of panels on the roof, the DualSun panel provides a beautiful aesthetic consistency, while providing a clean and sustainable source of energy.
– Franck Dorne, manager of the refuge
|Characteristics||Mountain refuge (capacity: 92 people)|
|Application||Domestic hot water|
|Number of solar panels||12 DualSun hybrid panels|
|Power output||3kWp + 4,49kWth|
|Roof installation||Panels installed vertically, integrated into the facade of the building, orientation east/west|
|Thermal system||750L hot water tank with electric booster|
|Photovoltaic system||Self-consumption of electricity with solar batteries|
|Installation date||Before 2015|