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A solar panel firm sets up operations in Saint-Luc with the goal of supplying half of Europe’s elect

It’s a real success story of the kind that’s normally to be found in Silicon Valley and nowhere else. However, ingenuity knows no borders, as Régis Solioz has demonstrated in the best possible way. Aged 45 and a native of the village of Mission, he is now known as ‘the King of solar power’.

‘Basically, all that I’ve done is to make the most of the micro-climate in the Val d’Anniviers’, he modestly notes. ‘From a very young age, we’ve known that here we’re really lucky with the weather’. And it’s this good fortune with the weather that the qualified ski patroller has successfully turned into an opportunity.

 ‘I plastered the village of Pinsec with solar panels left over from my father’s business’, he explained. ‘To begin with, I just wanted enough electricity to power the satellite television in my ‘mayen’ (small hut in the mountain pastures), but I quickly realized that I was producing enough power to share it with my neighbours’. And a lot more than that, in fact!

Without realizing it, the Val d’Anniviers man was on his way to becoming Europe’s biggest energy supplier. ‘The sun’s rays are so powerful here – and it’s sunny so much of the time that we really had no choice other than to export all this power that mother nature provides us with’.

The competitors – a bunch of blow-ins!

Attracted by the runaway success of this business venture, several European competitors decided to set up shop in the Val d’Anniviers too. The only problem was that they weren’t familiar with the local climate. ‘You wouldn’t believe it’, Régis Solioz chuckled. ‘These idiots landed in town with their wind turbines, whilst there’s hardly the slightest breeze in Anniviers. I sent them to Martigny sharpish.’

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