REC Peak Energy Series solar modules, a popular choice in Australian home solar power installations, are to be used in Austria’s biggest solar PV farm – which will also be the highest altitude facility of its type in Europe.
2 megawatts of REC solar panels will be installed 1,900 meters above sea level at Niedere Tauern, a mountain range in central Austria; part of the Central Eastern Alps. The solar farm will be an extension of the Tauernwind Project, an existing wind power facility. The PV array will utilise some of the existing infrastructure of that plant.
For a solar panel to survive in this area, it has to be tough. REC panels have already proven themselves in Australia’s often sizzling summers and this project will see the modules experiencing a very different set of climate related challenges – bitterly cold conditions, strong winds and snow weight of up to 9 kN/m².
However, the cold will be a friend as much as a foe. As mentioned in a recent article, cold conditions can be beneficial to solar panels, giving them a boost in sunlight conversion efficiency. It’s for this reason that cooler Australian states such as Tasmania, not usually associated with solar energy, can see good results from rooftop solar arrays.
According to a related SolarServer report, the Austrian project led by Albasolar GmbH will generate an estimated 2.5 million kWh per year, enough clean electricity to provide for the needs of 700 households. The solar farm will avoid the production of 2000 tons of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent produced by the burning of 825 tons of fossil fuel a year.
Already a respected brand in Europe, multi-award-winning REC solar panels were introduced to the Australian home solar power market in July 2010 by Energy Matters. Since that time, tens of thousands of the modules have been installed on residential rooftops around the nation.