Austria is on track to install more than 1 GW in photovoltaics this year and as much as 1.5 GW every year by 2030 to reach a 100% share of renewables. However, industry experts point to several challenges.
Hubert Fechner, chair of the Austrian Photovoltaics Technology Platform, told pv magazine that the organization expects “significantly more than 1 GW, maybe 1.1 GW, 1.2 GW or more” in solar power installations in 2022. He called the current dynamics in the PV market “extraordinary”.
Thus, the country could reach 4 GW in cumulative solar power capacity this year, compared to 2.8 GW in 2021.
Switch to 100% renewables for electricity by 2030 is possible
Fechner forecasted that Austria would add between 1.2 GW to 1.5 GW next year and every year through 2030. It means it could reach 13 GW, which the Photovoltaic Austria association sees as necessary to boost the share of renewables to 100%.
Of note, the southeastern Austrian state of Styria plans to earmark almost 1,000 hectares of land as solar park zones. Its capital city, Graz, made solar panels obligatory on new buildings.
Public acceptance and grid expansion as challenges
Fechner considers the public acceptance of grounded-mounted solar systems as the main challenge for the expansion of photovoltaics in Austria. The resistance of local communities can be higher than to solar installations on existing structures, as solar panels on land may cause conflicts with farmers or people who live nearby.
Another important point is the state of the grid. In order to be able to use and transfer the electricity from new solar power installations to regions where less or no electricity can be generated with photovoltaics, it is important to expand the network.
“Austria has completely missed the comprehensive grid expansion that we all need for a 100% renewable power supply in the following years,” Chair of Photovoltaic Austria Herbert Paierl told pv magazine.