Location: Val-de-Ruz, Switzerland
In the Jura mountains in Switzerland, farm houses are scattered around the mountainside. They are only connected to the electricity grid and phone lines so houses are traditionally heated with wood. Christian Weber, a farmer in Val-de-Ruz in the canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland wanted to attempt something new. He covered the roof of his house with solar panels which can now produce enough energy for six households.
About a year ago, Mr. Weber thought about expanding. He covered 1,600 square metres of his land with solar panels which can generate enough energy for sixty households. The project is very unlikely to start making a profit for another twenty years, but what kept him going was passion and a definite sense of responsibility. “We farmers are the caretakers of the land in Switzerland. We have to look after it and use it to produce food energy. But now we can produce electric energy out of it too and I don’t see why we shouldn’t.”
Mr Weber has also been doing organic farming for several years now as well as collecting compost and biomass for the communes of Val-de-Ruz. But the farmer is not just content to sit and wait. He has already started a new project to build a wind farm a few kilometres away at La Joux-du-Plâne: 12 large wind turbines which would supply electricity to more than 12,000 households.
How do you think farmers in developed countries could learn from Christian Weber?
Environmental Impact: Avoided C02 emissions and organic agriculture
Measurement: Swiss Federal Office of Energy
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