Carinthia’s biggest photovoltaic research plant is now supplying solar electricity


Feistritz-Ludmannsdorf: newly developed sensors research in real-time the early detection of errors and creeping degradation in large PV systems.

Festive initial operation with provincial governor Peter Kaiser and provincial councillor Sara Schaar: VERBUND’s first large-scale photovoltaic system in Austria was installed in Ludmannsdorf/Bilčovs in Rosental, Carinthia, and now feeds solar electricity directly into the high voltage grid. The pilot system has a peak output of 1.3 MW and is being used to research technical possibilities for permanently increasing the economic viability of photovoltaic systems of every size.

From today, Austria’s largest electricity generator, VERBUND, operates 131 hydropower plants as well as a large photovoltaic system: a pilot photovoltaic system equipped with special sensors was constructed on an area of 2.5 hectares at the Feistritz-Ludmannsdorf power plant on the Drava river, which has a peak output of 1.3 megawatts and feeds solar electricity directly into the Austria-wide transmission network.
“Photovoltaics is an important future energy source. VERBUND will supplement its hydropower electricity generation with about 25 percent photovoltaic and wind electricity generation by 2030,” says Michael Strugl, Vice Chairman of the Board of VERBUND on the occasion of the festive initial operation: “At the power plant site in Feistritz-Ludmannsdorf, we’re bringing hydropower and solar power together for the first time, combined with innovative operation and maintenance solutions.”
At the festive initial operation ceremony, provincial governor Peter Kaiser described the solar electricity pilot project as a innovative element for the renewable energy future: “As provincial governor, and personally also as a father, I am very much concerned that we do everything we can to leave our children and grandchildren a Carinthia in which they can drink crystal-clear water from the tap everywhere and any time, in which the air is clear, and nature and the environment are fully intact. With this responsibility for our grandchildren in mind, it is important to me to produce sustainable energy in our federal province. It is a great innovative sign beyond our provincial borders that the location of Ludmannsdorf has been chosen by VERBUND as a solar electricity pilot project for this photovoltaic system.”

Photovoltaics are gaining traction as a future source of energy

In ten years’ time, all electricity generated in Austria should come from renewable sources. By bundling competences in the newly founded VERBUND Green Power GmbH, Carinthia has been selected as the location for the first pilot project for solar electricity. The components and modules of the large-scale plant were installed by the Klagenfurt-based KPV-Solar without sealing the ground.

Provincial councillor for energy and environment, Sara Schaar, is pleased to note that the entire large system was constructed right on the site of the Drava power plant: “This project is an example of how photovoltaic systems don’t have to be randomly installed in the open countryside but can implemented in the vicinity of existing infrastructure. I’m delighted that another step in the advancement of alternative energy in Carinthia is being taken here, because Carinthia is a sunny place,” says provincial councillor Sara Schaar.

Pilot project generates knowledge for competitive “Climate protection made in Austria”.

The innovative pilot system in Ludmannsdorf/Bilčovs is part of a research project for the preventive maintenance of PV systems (“OptPV4.0”) funded by the Climate and Energy Fund. 

Theresia Vogel, managing director of the Climate and Energy Fund: “The use of photovoltaics will grow rapidly around the world in the coming years. For us, it’s about getting innovative PV solutions from Austria to gain traction. Such as, for example, the project OptPV4.0. Amongst other things, it shows how digitisation can make PV plants even more efficient. My thanks go above all to the project consortium – it has generated enormous knowledge for the industry, which is now resulting in competitive products for ‘Climate protection made in Austria’.”
The core goal of the project is the early detection of faults and creeping degradation through the research of system-wide data analysis and modelling concepts. The research results form the technical basis for making the operation of photovoltaic systems of every size more economical and predictable.

Efficiency advantage: solar electricity is fed directly into the transmission network.

VERBUND Green Power invested about one million euros in the construction of the PV large-scale plant in Ludmannsdorf/Bilčovs. Involved in the pilot project are the internationally active Carinthian companies ENcome Energy Performance GmbH and Silicon Austria Labs GmbH. In the coming years, research will take place jointly with technology and research partners.

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