December 2 (Renewables Now) - Austrian energy company Energie Steiermark has put into operation a 17.2-MW solar park in the south of the Alpine country as part of a strategy for massive solar expansion in the coming years.
The solar plant was built for less than a year on a 21-hectare (51.89 acres) plot on a former coal mine in the municipalities of Baernbach and Rosental, western Styria. With an estimated annual generation of 18 million kWh, the facility is Austria's largest solar park that feeds green power directly into the public grid. Its output will be enough to supply 5,700 households in the region, Energie Steiermark said this week in a statement.
The construction of the solar park required an investment of EUR 12 million (USD 12.54m).
The project is part of Energie Steiermark's strategy to invest EUR 250 million in solar expansion in the next five years. The Graz-based company supplies electricity, gas and heat and its operations are focused primarily on the province of Styria.
"It is our declared goal to quadruple the current number of collectors," said Energie Steiermark's directors Christian Purrer and Martin Graf.
Currently, more than 25,000 solar systems are feeding electricity into the power network in Styria and the planned expansion will focus on the existing roof and landfill areas as well as the dual use of land for agricultural purposes when building ground-mounted solar plants. The power company has already secured around 450 hectares across the state.
(EUR 1 = USD 1.045)