A study recently published in Austria has caused lasting amazement and heated discussions in the industry. In it, a recognised FH professor had made an extrapolation that a maximum of 1.2 terawatt hours (TWh) of PV electricity could be produced on Austria's roofs. This would be only about ten percent of the target value set by the government in the climate strategy. Unsurprisingly, this "expert calculation" was understood by the country's major energy supply companies as a mandate to contribute the rest of the required amount of solar power with their own large free-field systems. In view of the ongoing discussion about ever more built-up area, this is a thoroughly ambitious undertaking.
"How the author of the study arrived at the value he calculated is completely beyond me," PV expert Dr. Gerhard Rimpler is stunned. "The government is talking about a one-million-roof programme - if we assume eight KWh per roof, we are already at eight TWh. That would already be 75 percent of the government's target." It's not surprising that the big energy companies are pushing their own large installations. "If more and more consumers produce an ever larger portion of the energy they need themselves, the lucrative end-customer business will be lost to them," says Dr. Rimpler. In terms of sustainable climate protection, however, this would be highly desirable. The PV expert can only hope that the political decision-makers will not be guided by such erroneous studies and that this will not affect the funding guidelines. "Unfortunately, this is exactly what has happened far too often in the past", Dr. Rimpler is not very confident in the case.
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