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In a surprising move, Switzerland has adopted one of the world’s most aggressive systems of Advanced Renewable Tariffs.The Swiss, famed for conservative traditions, stodgy bankers and trains that run on time, have joined a growing list of countries using feed-in tariffs to promote the rapid development of renewable energy. Not content to start with a timid program incrementally raising the bar year by year, the Swiss federal government this spring launched a full-system of feed-in tariffs differentiated by technology, size and application. There are tariffs, or payments per kilowatt-hour (kWh), for solar photovoltaics, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass. The Swiss system, like those in Germany, France and Spain, pays a renewable energy generator for every kWh of electricity generated. The payments are made for periods of 20 to 25 years, depending upon the technology. The new Swiss tariffs, among the highest in the world, are the first to include a specific tariff for small wind turbines — those under 10 kW — of 0.20 SWF/kWh (US $0.20/kWh) for 20 years. The states of Michigan, Illinois, Rhode Island and Minnesota have proposed similar tariffs for small wind turbines, US $0.25/kWh, but none of the proposals have yet become law.
Paul Gipe, author of Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm, and Business and Wind Energy Basics: A Guide to Small and Micro Wind Systems , recently published an article at RenewableEnergyOnline.com  about Switzerland’s surprisingly bold moves toward renewable energy. From the article: