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Austria's largest ground-mounted PV plant

Lighthouse project supplies electricity for 4900 households

The largest photovoltaic plant in Austria is currently located in Vienna. The 11.45 megawatt plant produces more than 12 gigawatt hours of solar electricity annually for 4900 Viennese households. At the same time, agricultural use is possible: the plant is designed as an agricultural photovoltaic system and is thus a showcase example of environmentally compatible and land-efficient ground-mounted systems. Every year, the giant solar power plant with its 25,626 modules saves 4200 tonnes of CO2, thus making a significant contribution to more climate protection in the city. We built the plant for Wien Energie on the 12.5 hectare site of a former city gravel dump.

Solar power between sheep and celery

The area under the solar power plant serves as a grazing area for 150 Jura sheep from April to October. As natural lawn mowers, they ensure that the grass does not grow too tall and they in turn can shelter from the weather thanks to the photovoltaic modules.

Part of the plant is also implemented as a so-called agricultural photovoltaic plant. The approximately 400 modules are bifacial – i.e. they produce electricity on both sides – and stand vertically. This means that a tractor can drive between the rows of modules without any problems and the area can be used for agricultural purposes, such as growing vegetables. The area between the agricultural photovoltaic modules is thus used up to 60 percent more efficiently. This innovative form of photovoltaics has already been successfully implemented by Wien Energie in test operations and is now being used on a larger scale in Schafflerhofstraße. In order to analyse the effects of the dual use, Wien Energie is focusing on accompanying research together with the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, which will also cultivate the area.

Technical masterstroke: one line for two green power plants

With plants of this size, connection to the electricity grid is also a challenge, as this could be overloaded during production peaks. The innovative solution: The Schafflerhofstraße photovoltaic plant is part of a hybrid power plant. It is connected to the same power line as the Wien Energie wind farm in Andlersdorf. This supplies up to 9 megawatts of power to the grid. Wind and solar peaks are rarely simultaneous, so both plants can run at full capacity at the same time without overloading the electricity grid. If an excess of renewable electricity is produced nevertheless, a buffer electricity storage system is used. It absorbs production peaks and feeds the solar power produced into the electricity grid at a later point in time.

Key data on the Schafflerhofstraße photovoltaic system:

  • Location: Schafflerhofstraße, 1220 Vienna
  • Power: 11.45 megawatts
  • Annual electricity production: over 12 gigawatt hours
  • Area: 12.5 hectares
  • Solar power for 4900 Viennese households
  • 626 photovoltaic modules, 400 of which are bifacial (double-sided)
  • 200 tonnes CO2 savings/year
  • The photovoltaic system was built by MaxSolar.

PV Magazine reported: PV_Magazine_Online

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