For this pilot project, 7.000 m2 of solar panels were put up, to produce approximately 1,100 megawatt hours of electricity per year. This is equivalent to the energy consumption of 200 trains on the route from Vienna to Salzburg, and saves the environment an estimated 400 tonnes of CO2.
Steel sections from Welser are used as a part of the supporting construction and for mounting the PV modules. Basic prerequisites for this kind of application are a highly corrosion resistant and resilient material which can cope with high wind and snow loads. To meet these requirements, material selection was a key, as was careful consideration of the thickness of the zinc coating. To ensure maximum corrosion resistance, even the edges of the steel sections were galvanised.
The Austrian Federal Railways were proud to announce that they took over worldwide leadership through installation of this new solar power system. This innovataive system became reality due to a newly developed inverter which connects the solar panel to the overhead line. This allows the PV system to be trackside, so that the electricity is efficiently generated exactly where it is needed. There is almost none of the conduction power loss usually associated with transferring power from a more distant generation site. This is why the project has been awarded the third place at the EPCON Awards 2015 as one of the most innovative energy projects of Austria.
The system can also collect and analyse its own performance through varying weather conditions, data which will be useful for the other 20 associated projects throughout Austria.